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Page last updated at 22:47 GMT, Saturday, 7 November 2009

Hoaxer impersonates Brazil leader

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
The real Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was not interviewed by the radio stations

A hoaxer pretending to be Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was interviewed by Portuguese-language radio stations before being found out.

One interview he did with Angolan state radio was broadcast on air for a few days before the hoax was discovered.

The impersonator discussed the 2016 Olympics - due to be hosted by Rio de Janeiro - in the interviews.

A local Brazilian radio station seeking content for a comedy slot is believed to be behind the hoax.

BBC regional analyst Leonardo Rocha says the impersonator convincingly imitated President Lula's husky voice and informal style.

Radio stations that broadcast in Portuguese received an e-mail a few days ago saying President Lula was willing to be interviewed about the 2016 Olympics.

Editors at Angola's national radio were said to be in a state of shock.

HOAXES
1995: Canadian DJ calls Queen Elizabeth II pretending to be Canadian PM Jean Chretien
1998: British DJ get through to PM Tony Blair by impersonating opposition leader William Hague
2003: Miami DJs prank-call Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez while pretending to be Cuba's Fidel Castro, and later do it the other way round
2006: Canadian impersonator hoaxed President Jacques Chirac by claiming to be Conservative leader Stephen Harper

In the interview, the impersonator praises Angola for its good work ahead of the African Cup of Nations, which it will host in two months' time.

In another interview, with Australian SBS radio, the impersonator said: "We know we have a huge Brazilian diaspora in Australia and we're very honoured to be getting in touch with our people around the world."

However for a number of reasons the interview had aroused the suspicions of the SBS journalist who conducted it, Beatriz Wagner. She uncovered the truth by contacting the Brazilian authorities.



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