Brazil’s transparency chief under pressure to leave over tap


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Leaked recordings of conversations of heavyweight politicians are causing yet more headaches for Brazil’s acting President Michel Temer. His new anti-corruption chief was under pressure to resign Monday after TV Globo broadcast a recording of him giving legal advice to the head of Brazil’s Senate, a man under investigation in a sprawling kickback probe involving the state oil company Petrobras.

The recording broadcast late Sunday also shows Transparency Minister Fabiano Silveira criticizing the investigation itself, which has implicated some of Brazil’s most prominent politicians and businessmen.

TV Globo also said that Silveira repeatedly contacted investigators in the Petrobras case to seek information on the accusations against Senate chief Renan Calheiros, but he did not succeed in getting any specifics. The conversation at Calheiros’ residence came some time before the Senate voted to impeach and suspend President Dilma Rousseff, putting the government in Temer’s hands.

Temer had not made any comments about the recordings and Silveira said that he was not involved in any wrongdoing.

But many of Silveira’s staffers blocked his entry to their building in capital Brasilia on Monday. The O Globo newspaper printed an extra editorial to demand Silveira’s resignation, echoing calls by allies of the suspended president, who argues that her foes ousted her because she had allowed the Petrobras investigation to go forward.

Another leaked recording forced Temer’s new planning minister to take a leave of absence last week. In that recording, Romero Juca suggested there should be “a pact” to impeach Rousseff and appeared link it to obstructing the Petrobras probe. He denied any wrongdoing or intention to stop the investigations.

O Globo’s editorial said that “Temer needs to apply the same rule that he applied to Juca: There can be no conspiracy against Operation Car Wash,” a reference to the Petrobras probe. “It is the only way that his public commitment to support the operation and to fight against corruption will be taken seriously.”

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