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Brazilian Minister Steps Down Over Remarks on Corruption Probe

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A senior minister in Brazil’s interim government said he would step down Tuesday after being accused of plotting to curb a huge corruption investigation.

Planning Minister Romero Juca was reportedly taped in a “secret” recording saying that a “national pact” was necessary to limit the country’s biggest-ever corruption investigation into the state-owned oil company, Petrobras, according to Reuters. “The government has to be changed in order to stop this bleeding,” Juca is reported to have said in a conversation with a suspect in the investigation, former Senator Sergio Machado.

Read More: How the Petrobras Scandal Ensnared Lula—and Upturned Brazilian Politics

The recording, which was reported by local newspaper Folha de S. Paulo on Monday, was made before President Dilma Rousseff was suspended on May 12 to face an impeachment trial. Rousseff is accused of financial violations but says she is the “victim of a coup.”

Juca, along with several other ministers, is under investigation in the Petrobras case for alleged bribery, Reuters reports. He is the first to fall since acting President Michel Temer stepped in for Rousseff. Juca denied any wrong doing and said his comments were taken out of context.


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Write to Mark Rivett-Carnac at mark.rivett-carnac@timeasia.com