The owner of the Fiorella, a restaurant and snack bar chain, Sebastião Augusto Buani, has confirmed that he paid more than US$ 47,000 (110,000 reais) during 2002 and 2003 to federal deputy Severino Cavalcanti.
Cavalcanti, from the PP party of Pernambuco state, was the first secretary of the Chamber of Deputies at the time and is now the president of the Chamber of Deputies, and after the vice president, next in the line of presidential succession.
According to Buani, he had a concession contract to operate restaurants and snack bars in the congressional office building in Brasília, the capital of Brazil.
However, when Cavalcanti, who as first secretary controlled concession contracts, threatened to terminate the contract, or refused to renew it, Buani began paying him a monthly kickback of US$ 4,300 (10,000 reais) in order to stay in business.
Buani, says that the money was always paid in cash, but he has concrete proof of the deal in the form of a single check from June 2003 which was cashed by Cavalcanti’s congressional office. He also has witnesses who saw the transaction with the check.
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