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BRAZIL
Corruption at the top
IPS, Latinamerica Press
10/4/2007
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In a controversial secret session Sept. 12 Brazil’s Senate voted against firing the body’s president, Renan Calheiros, who is accused of illicit enrichment. The case was presented a week earlier by the Senate Ethics Committee.

The accusations against Calheiros — of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, a key ally of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s party — include having received some US$8,000 a month between 2004 and 2005 by construction company Mendez Junior for public works contracts.

The lawmaker is also accused of receiving money from beer-maker Schincariol in exchange for help in having tax debts forgiven and for the use of frontmen to buy three radio stations in the Alagoas state, where he is from.

But others have not had Calheiros’ luck. In late August, the Supreme Court found there was enough evidence to open a criminal suit against 40 people accused of being tied to a corruption ring run by members of the governing Workers Party — including former ministers and party leaders. The accusations were tied to monthly payoffs of lawmakers in exchange for backing the government.


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