THE AMERICAS

Second member of Brazil’s interim government resigns in a week

Transparency minister stands down over leaked conversation criticizing corruption investigation

Fabiano Silveira.
Fabiano Silveira.CNMP / FOTOS PÚBLICAS

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Barely two weeks after his post was created by interim President Michel Temer to show his resolve to fight corruption, Brazil’s minister of transparency, Fabiano Silveira, has resigned over the leak of a conversation in which he offers advice to two politicians targeted by an investigation into graft at state oil company Petrobras.

According to TV Globo’s Fantástico news magazine, Silveira was recorded at the home of Senate speaker Renan Calheiros in February while still a member of the National Justice Council giving advice to Calheiros and former senator Sérgio Machado, both of whom are under judicial investigation as part of the graft probe known as Lava Jato, or Carwash.

Following the resignation announcement on Monday, Temer initially said Silveira would hold onto his post, but backed down after several civil servants at the Transparency Ministry said they would resign in protest.

Acting President Temer has announced the policies he will send to Congress to help kick start the South American country’s stalled economy

Silveira has tried to play down the leaks, saying he made “general comments, just opinions” that have been “exaggerated by the climate of political exasperation.”

Temer took over on May 13 as Brazil’s acting president while impeached Dilma Rousseff is tried in the Senate. He has announced the policies he will send to Congress to help kickstart the South American country’s stalled economy, but the honeymoon period investors hoped would give him some political space has been spent responding to crises of public opinion and the Lava Jato corruption probe.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are gathering evidence against members of Temer’s government and political party. His planning minister Romero Juca stepped down last week after he appeared to offer protection to a former executive turned state’s witness. Juca denied wrongdoing and returned to his job as a senator.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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