Charged with Having Secret Overseas Account Brazil’s Senate Chief Asks for Inquiry

Sarney in Veja José Sarney, Brazil's senate president and the nation's former president (1985/1990), said he would formally request the Brazilian Attorney General's office to investigate the existence of an alleged secret bank account overseas under his name.

Senator Sarney has been for months in the middle of a growing scandal of corruption, patronizing, embezzlement and nepotism and last weekend was accused by the weekly magazine Veja of having funds stashed away in a foreign secret account.

"I'm granting all powers and authorizations so that the Attorney General can request international financial institutions all the necessary information about secret accounts in overseas banks to my name, now or in the past, as well as any other assets such as shares, investments or properties," pointed out Sarney.

According to the São Paulo magazine Veja, Sarney has an overseas account with US$ 870.000 thanks to his friendship with former banker Edemar Cid Ferreira, who was owner of the failed Banco Santos.

The head of the Senate and chairman of the Conservative Movement for the Brazilian Democratic Party (PMDB) holds a post which is crucial for the ruling coalition of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Congress who has repeatedly asked the Workers Party's (PT) legislators to abstain from attacking the senator.

But the PT legislators ignored President Lula's instructions and requested that senator Sarney take a forced absence of 30 days. However the party's chairman Deputy Ricardo Berzoini warned that is was essential to support senator Sarney to consolidate the ruling coalition candidacy of chief of staff Dilma Rousseff for next year's presidential election.

"We must concentrate in continuing to rule Brazil with the PMDB as an ally," said Deputy José Genoí­no. "Supporting Sarney is a way of keeping the PP in power," he insisted.

The congressional opposition is demanding the resignation of senator Sarney so one of its members from the Brazilian Social Democracy party takes over the post of head of the Senate, which would thwart Lula's remaining mandate and his chances to catapult Ms Rousseff as his successor.



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