Brazil president’s ally resigns in corruption scandal

Government secretary Geddel Vieira Lima Vieira Lima is the sixth minister to quit President Michel Temer's government since May.

By: AFP | Brasilia | Published:November 25, 2016 9:37 pm
President Michel Temer,  government secretary Geddel Vieira Lima, Vieira Lima, Folha de Sao Paulo,  Rousseff's predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, latest news, Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer. (Source: AP Photo)

A prominent Brazilian government minister resigned on Friday in a corruption scandal reportedly implicating President Michel Temer. “I am asking to be relieved of my position,” government secretary Geddel Vieira Lima said in a letter published in the media. Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported on Thursday that another ex-minister had told police Temer pressured him to intervene in a business deal involving Vieira Lima.

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Temer denied the allegation.

Former culture minister Marcelo Calero said Temer and Vieira Lima asked him to approve a building project in the northeastern seaside city of Salvador de Bahia, where Vieira Lima has an apartment, the newspaper said.

Temer, 76, took over as acting president in May before becoming full president in August after his leftist rival Dilma Rousseff was impeached.

Vieira Lima is the sixth minister to quit Temer’s government since May.

He was a key driver of Temer’s policies, including unpopular austerity measures the government says are needed to fix Brazil’s finances.

Three others resigned after being named in a major corruption scandal involving the state oil firm Petrobras. Another quit over separate irregularities.

A key suspect in the Petrobras affair has reportedly made allegations against Temer. However, the president is not under any formal investigation so far.

Rousseff was impeached over unrelated allegations that she fiddled state accounts while in office.

Her allies have now threatened a motion to try to impeach Temer himself.

Latin America’s biggest economy, Brazil entered a boom under Rousseff’s predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But it has since plunged into recession.