New Revelations of Corruption Add Pressure on Brazil’s Senate Chief to Resign

A T-Shirt sporting a Out, Sarney message Just-released new reports of alleged fraud and embezzlement by Brazil Senate president, José Sarney, proliferated in Brazil's weekend press fueling an ongoing Senate ethics scandal plus renewing pressure for Sarney to resign.

The political survival of Sarney, a former president (1985/1990) and key ally of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been in doubt for weeks following media allegations of unethical behavior and personal enrichment, which are under police investigation.

The scandal has also exposed tensions in the ruling coalition that threaten to hold up the government's legislative agenda and hamper President Lula's plans for his hand picked chosen successor in October 2010 elections.

If Sarney is forced to resign the post most probably will fall in the hands of Lula's coalition main opposition and their best positioned candidate for the presidential elections of 2010.

News magazine Veja reported at the weekend that Sarney had failed to report to tax authorities a foreign account he held with Banco Santos, a Brazilian bank that went bankrupt in 2004. Sarney withdrew 2.2 million Brazilian reais (US$ 1.1 million) from Banco Santos one day before authorities intervened in the bank Veja claims, citing central bank documents used in police investigations.

Sarney and the former owner of the bank denied knowledge of the alleged account abroad Veja said. The senator said public prosecutors could investigate the charges freely.

In a separate report on Sunday, O Estado de S. Paulo gave details of allegations that Sarney and his family pocketed sponsorship money given by the state-run oil company Petrobras to a cultural foundation carrying his name. The report said 500,000 reais (US$ 250,000) ended up in companies owned by Sarney or friends and family.

The head of the José Sarney Foundation said it could account for all its expenses and that the allegations by O Estado de S. Paulo were slanderous.

Lula relies on Sarney's conservative PMDB party, which is the largest in both houses of Congress, to approve legislative proposals and to back his preferred candidate, chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, in 2010 presidential elections.

Opposition legislators now want to charge Sarney before the Senate ethics committee with nepotism and wrongdoing related to a secret spending and hiring scheme in the Senate that benefited legislators, staff and their families with perks and pay. His grandson was also involved in a banking loans scheme to the 10.000 staff of the Brazilian Senate.

To avoid a high-profile hearing and scrutiny by the media Sarney could step down, analysts said. He previously admitted receiving housing benefits he did not need and failing to declare ownership of a mansion to electoral officials.

In previous investigations the Brazilian press revealed that Sarney and his top aides had a special "bunker" built at the Senate which had all the facilities and furniture for sex encounters and private dealings.

Mercopress

Tags:

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazil Gets World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Office

Brazil has become the host of the first South American World Wide Web Consortium ...

Veja’s Yankee Brazilian Teens

Brazilian leading magazine Veja tells in a special report that they took a portrait ...

Three Months of Brazilian Movies in Europe

Considered the greatest itinerating Brazilian movie exhibit in Europe, the Plural Brazil Festival reaches ...

Brazilian Shaman Urges World to Sign Indian Rights Law

Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami shaman from the Brazilian Amazon, dubbed "the Dalai Lama of ...

Geisy, Brazil’s Miniskirt Student, Should Try US College Next Year

Geisy Arruda made history this week in Brazil, but for all the wrong reasons. ...

In Opposition to US Brazil Insists Honduras Elections Were Illegitimate

The Brazilian government has once again reiterated its position of not recognizing the new ...

No Need to Despair. We Still Have Flamengo Football Club to Save Brazil.

The question that won’t go away: what national structure in Brazil will replace the ...

Value of Brazil Companies Up 130% in 2009. Compare this to 28% in the US

The aggregate value of Brazilian listed companies rose by almost 130% in 2009, according ...

Bad Job Market in the US Brings Bulls Out in Brazil

Latin American equities surged amid positive local news and gains on Wall Street, as ...

Brazilian presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin

Brazil, Roll Up Your Sleeve to Defeat Alckmin and the US Empire

We the social movements must mobilize, roll up our sleeves and go to the ...