Brazilian assemblyman Leonardo Prudente (no party since he resigned so as to avoid being expelled from the DEM party) says he will return to his post as president of the Federal District Legislative Assembly after a leave of absence that began on December 1st following accusations that he was part of a corruption scheme.
Prudente was filmed accepting stacks of money and then putting wads of bills into his pockets and when he ran out of pockets he crammed the rest of the money into his socks.
As president of the Legislative Assembly Prudente will manage impeachment hearings against the governor and other members of the executive and legislative branches accused of receiving bribes – including himself.
According to the Federal Police, an investigation called Pandora’s Box has found that contractors who do work for the local government in Brasília (GDF) have been making illegal payments to the GDF, which were passed on to members of the legislature and the executive branch for their political support.
The accusations against the governor José Roberto Arruda, the vice governor, Paulo Octávio, and other members of the executive and legislative branches are mainly based on films made by a former member of Arruda’s cabinet, Durval Barbosa, who was until recently the secretary for Institutional Relations.
At the top of a long list of bribe recipients compiled by the police were Prudente and the governor, José Roberto Arruda. Both were members of the DEM (in fact Arruda was the only DEM governor in the country) and both were forced to resign in the face of devastating film footage showing them handling wads of money as they tried to decide what to do with the stuff, before stuffing it into bags, pockets and socks.
Both of them wrote similar letters of resignation to the DEM board of directors. Both face uncertain political futures.
However, Leonardo “socks” Prudente is now a part of Brazilian political folklore. He explained his behavior by saying, with a straight face, that as he never carries a briefcase he hides money in his clothes in order to keep it safe.