Friday, August 21, 2015

Who's Not Corrupt in Brazil?

Dilma Rousseff is facing serious corruption charges, which have led to calls for impeachment, but a key power broker who would help decide whether impeachment could move forward is also being implicated in corruption scandals. From The Rio Times:

The president of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, and former President, now Senator, Fernando Collor de Mello were accused of corruption and money laundering on Thursday by the country’s general attorney, Rodrigo Janot, as part of the on-going Operation Lava Jato (Carwash Operation) investigations. The two are the first high-ranking politicians to be involved in what is already the country’s largest public corruption scheme in history. 

According to documents presented by Janot to the Supreme Court, Cunha is said to have asked for US$ 5 million from companies to help a company obtain contracts to construct drilling vessels for Petrobras’ oil and gas operations. In July, a consultant for one of the companies accused Cunha of asking for bribes to push through the contracts. Brazil’s Attorney General also accused ex-President Collor of receiving approximately US$ 7.5 million in bribes related to Petrobras’ subsidiary, BR Distribuidora. Both men have continuously denied any involvement with the Lava Jato scheme. 

Cunha had gone to the length of publishing an op-ed saying he wasn't out to get Rousseff. I suppose a question for many Brazilian politicians will be whether going after the president will lead to a slippery slope that will prompt more of their own resignations. It's true that forcing Rousseff to resign now could cause political instability, but there is plenty of self-interest involved as well.

Collor, meanwhile, already had to resign the presidency in 1992 because of scandal as his own impeachment process got moving.


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