A Brazilian presidential candidate on Thursday accused his far-right opponent of illegal election campaigns of being secretly allowed to pay friendly business people to spread slanderous messages.
Leftist Fernando Haddad's allegations follow a newspaper report Folha de S.Paulo said businessmen linked to Congressman Jair Bolsonaro allegedly funded the distribution of bogus news via the WhatsApp news service to his Candidacy. The article said that a blast message campaign was planned for the week leading up to the October 28 drain.
In a series of tweets, Bolsonaro, the front-runner in opinion polls, said that any support from business people was voluntary. Gustavo Bebbiano, chairman of the social-liberal party of Bolsonaro, refused to receive illegal donations.
"Every donation made to date, whether it be our party or our candidate's campaign, comes from funds donated to our platform," said Bebbiano
Haddad, who was arrested by former President Luiz Inacio Lula Silva was handpicked, said he leads for federal police to follow, but did not reveal names. Later, he asked Brazil's higher court to initiate an investigation, and he said he could recite the case of the Organization of American States.
"There was a criminal organization of businessmen who used illegal campaign finance to promote this candidacy and manipulate the election in the first round (October 7) and they want to repeat it in the runoff election," said Haddad , "We estimate that hundreds of thousands of messages, all fake, were sent to voters to suggest that they voted for my rival."
Payment of blast messages, if true, could be a violation of Brazilian campaign finance laws. Attorney Erick Pereira said, "But there is still a need for robust evidence that is not there at the moment," added Pereira added.
The Folha article mentioned businessman Luciano Hang. Who owns the Havan department store as one of the contributors. It also mentioned a handful of marketing companies who allegedly received money for the demolition.
In an e-mail statement, the Havan chain said the newspaper "published fake news with a clear ideological bias," adding
Yacows, an Internet marketing service mentioned in the article , one person answered the phone and said that there would be no comment as the company does not spread any messages.
The other companies mentioned in the article (1
"The Labor Party is not affected by fake news, it is affected by the truth," said Bolsonaro. "They stole the people's money, were arrested, faced with the judiciary, disobeyed families, and plunged the country into violence and chaos."
A poll by Datafolha said Thursday that Bolsonaro has a comfortable advantage over Haddad with 59 per cent of support, 41 per cent. The polling agency said it had interviewed 9,137 voters on Wednesday and Thursday, and the poll had an error rate of two percentage points.
Associated Press author Stan Lehman in Sao Paulo has contributed to this report.