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Caught On Tape: Brazil’s Anti-Corruption Minister Coaching Politicians On How To Get Away With Corruption

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The interim Brazilian government is slowly falling apart as the country’s Transparency Minister resigned Monday after being caught coaching politicians how to get away with corruption.

Transparency Minister Fabiano Silveira resigned at the request of interim President Michel Temer after Brazilian television aired recordings Sunday of Silveira teaching Brazilian Senate President Renán Calheiros and Brazilian businessman Sergio Machado how to defend themselves from corruption investigations. Both Calheiros and Machado are being investigated by the Brazilian Public Ministry over their alleged involvement in the “Lava Jato,” or Car Wash Scandal at Petrobras, the state-owned oil company.

The Lava Jato Scandal has plagued the highest levels of Brazilian politics and business for months. Petrobras political appointees have been accused of running the firms as a political slush fund for the Brazilian Workers’ Party. Senior Petrobras executives stand accused of taking kickbacks from preferred contractors and reinvesting them in the political campaigns of Brazilian Workers’ Party candidates.

Silveira mentions in the recordings that prosecutors looking into corruption are “totally lost.” The disgraced Silveira claimed that his words were misconstrued in the tapes made months prior and that, “Those were generic comments and simple opinion, certainly amplified by the climate of political exasperation we have all witnessed.”

Despite only having been in power since May 12, Silveira’s resignation is already the second of the interim Temer Administration. Planning Minister Romero Juca stepped down from his post after he was recorded attempting to put a halt to a corruption investigation.

This long-running scandal has already claimed the freedom of the head of Brazil’s largest construction firm, Marcelo Odebrecht of Odebrecht who is now serving a 19 year prison term because of it. Separately, former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached earlier in May for cooking the books of the country’s finances to make things seem rosier just ahead of a tight October 2014 reelection race.

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