Min­is­ter at cen­ter of Brazil’s lat­est scan­dal re­signs

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer’s min­is­ter in charge of re­la­tions with Congress, Ged­del Vieira Lima, re­signed yes­ter­day fol­low­ing an ac­cu­sa­tion that he had pres­sured an­other min­is­ter to ap­prove a prop­erty in­vest­ment. His res­ig­na­tion, along with ac­cu­sa­tions by an­other min­is­ter that Te­mer also dis­cussed the in­vest­ment with him, rat­tled in­vestors yes­ter­day, push­ing Brazil’s cur­rency and stock prices lower as traders wor­ried the tur­moil would af­fect ef­forts to over­haul gov­ern­ment fi­nances and re­store eco­nomic growth.

Vieira Lima is the fourth Cab­i­net min­is­ter to quit over cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions since Te­mer re­placed im­peached left­ist Dilma Rouss­eff ear­lier this year and vowed to clean up gov­ern­ment. His de­par­ture de­prives Te­mer of his point man in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Congress, a key post for an ad­min­is­tra­tion striv­ing to en­act un­pop­u­lar aus­ter­ity mea­sures to re­duce a widen­ing bud­get deficit and spur a re­cov­ery for an econ­omy in its worst re­ces­sion since the 1930s.

The cri­sis came to a head fol­low­ing news re­ports late on Thurs­day that Marcelo Calero, who re­signed last week as cul­ture min­is­ter, told fed­eral po­lice that Te­mer him­self pres­sured him to re­solve a dis­pute with Vieira Lima. The dis­pute in­volved a per­mit for con­struc­tion of a lux­ury ocean­front build­ing in which Vieira Lima had pur­chased an apart­ment and that needed ap­proval by a cul­ture min­istry agency be­cause it would be built in a his­tor­i­cal preser­va­tion district in Vieira Lima’s home­town of Sal­vador. Af­ter Brazil’s pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice said it was study­ing a pos­si­ble in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the case, a pres­i­den­tial aide told Reuters early yes­ter­day that Vieira Lima’s sit­u­a­tion had be­come un­ten­able. The Brazil­ian real slumped as much as 2.2 per­cent to 3.4679 reais to the dol­lar, the big­gest in­tra­day drop since a day af­ter US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s un­ex­pected vic­tory. It later pared losses to trade 0.92 per­cent lower on the day. — Reuters

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