Rio de Janeiro gover­nor ar­rested on graft charges

Pezao, 63, is ac­cused of re­ceiv­ing bribes when he was vice gover­nor of the Brazil­ian city un­der Ser­gio Cabral, who is cur­rently in prison af­ter be­ing sen­tenced to a cu­mu­la­tive 180 years for cor­rup­tion

The Gulf Today - - AMERICAS -

RIO DE JANEIRO: The gover­nor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fer­nando Pezao, was ar­rested on Thurs­day over al­le­ga­tions he took bribes as part of the sprawl­ing “Car Wash” graft probe.

Pezao, 63, is ac­cused of re­ceiv­ing bribes when he was vice gover­nor of the Brazil­ian city un­der Ser­gio Cabral, who is cur­rently in prison af­ter be­ing sen­tenced to a cu­mu­la­tive 180 years for cor­rup­tion.

The Globo News tele­vi­sion chan­nel showed live footage of fed­eral po­lice at Pezao’s res­i­dence, where he was hav­ing break­fast at the time.

“The gover­nor is part of the po­lit­i­cal nu­cleus of a crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion that, over the last few years, com­mit­ted sev­eral crimes against the pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion, es­pe­cially cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing,” a Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor’s Ofice state­ment said.

He was trans­ferred to a po­lice head­quar­ters in Rio.

The sweep­ing “Lava Jato” (Car Wash) probe kicked off in 2014, en­snar­ing politi­cians from nearly ev­ery party in cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions mainly linked to Brazil’sstate-owne­doil­com­pa­nypetro­bras.

In Rio de Janeiro, the po­lice also raided the Gua­n­abara Palace, head­quar­ters of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, search­ing for doc­u­ments.

Brazil’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, Raquel Dodge is­sued the prison or­der which was car­ried out by the Su­pe­rior Court of Jus­tice, which has juris­dic­tion over gover­nors.

The ar­rest war­rant was based on the con­fes­sion of Car­los Mi­randa, a for­mer Cabral as­so­ciate, who co-op­er­ated in ex­change for a sen­tence re­duc­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Mi­randa’s tes­ti­mony, Pezao would have re­ceived a monthly pay­ment of 150,000 reais ($40,000) as well as end-of-the-year bonuses of up to one mil­lion reais, lo­cal press re­ported.

The money would have been paid by com­pa­nies and in­ter­me­di­aries bound by con­tracts with the Rio de Janeiro gov­ern­ment dur­ing a pe­riod from 2007 to 2014, press re­ports said.

In­pre­vi­ous­in­quiries,peza­o­had­de­nied par­tic­i­pat­ing in the scheme.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral em­pha­sised that “de­spite hav­ing been a trusted man of Ser­gio Cabral and as­sum­ing a key role in that crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion, even suc­ceed­ing him in lead­er­ship, Pezao op­er­ated his own scheme, with its own inan­cial op­er­a­tors.”

The pros­e­cu­tor’s ofice warned that if Pezao re­mained free he could hin­der the re­cov­ery of mis­ap­pro­pri­ated as­sets and elim­i­nate as­sets il­le­gally ac­quired.

Luiz Fer­nando Pezao

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