Brazil’s interim government lost its third cabinet member within the space of a month on Thursday, with the country’s tourism minister resigning shortly after being named in a corruption investigation into state-run oil company Petrobras.
Henrique Alves’ departure comes less than two months before the country hosts the 2016 Olympics. He has denied the allegations against him but said in a letter to interim President Michel Temer that he didn’t want to “create embarrassments or any difficulties for the government,” Reuters reports.
Sergio Machado, a former senator belonging to Temer’s PMDB party and the longtime head of Petrobras’ shipping subsidiary, told investigators that Alves had received kickbacks totaling $450,000. He also implicated Temer himself, detailing an attempt by the 75-year-old leader to solicit illicit campaign funds for his party — an accusation Temer slammed as “irresponsible, ridiculous, mendacious and criminal.”
Alves’ resignation and the controversy surrounding the interim government have further fueled turmoil in the recession-hit South American nation, where recently-ousted President Dilma Rousseff awaits a vote in the Senate to confirm her impeachment over charges of budget manipulation.