Brazil’s Finance Minister Close to Resignation on Corruption Charges

The Brazilian Attorney General’s Office will file corruption charges against Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, reported Tuesday, November 15, daily Correio Braziliense in BrasÀ­lia, Brazil’s capital.

Quoting prosecutors Aroldo Costa Filho and Sebastião Sérgio de Silveira, the article says there’s sufficient evidence to prove that during Mr. Palocci’s time as mayor of Ribeirão Preto, the municipality bribed US$ 23,000 a month from the local private waste disposal company.

According to an investigation by prosecutors the money guaranteed the contract between the municipal government headed by Palocci and the Leão Leão Company to which some close supporters of the mayor had links.

The first allegations in the case were revealed by Rogério Buratti, who served as an adviser to Mr. Palocci and later worked for Leão Leão.

Palocci was mayor of Ribeirão Preto from 1993 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2002, when he resigned to join President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s administration.

The allegations of wrongdoing during his time as mayor of Ribeirão Preto have placed Palocci in a delicate position, with increasing speculation in financial and political circles that he will have to resign in coming days.

Mr. Palocci has been summoned Wednesday before a congressional committee that plans to question him about Brazil’s economic policy and the charges against him. The Brazilian press reports the Minister has been out of sight since last Friday, and his office claims he has taken several days off.

Since last May/June President Lula da Silva’s Workers Party has been exposed in Congress to corruption charges particularly a regular payments scheme to ensure political support for the administration with money laundered from private and government companies.

The corruption ring that forced the resignation of several close aides of President Lula apparently managed tens of millions of US dollars deposited in local banks and overseas financial havens.

This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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