Brazilian Minister of Tourism Henrique Eduardo Alves (R) speaks with Presidential Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha during ministerial meeting to discuss the 2016 Rio Olympics, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, June 7, 2016.
Ueslei Marcelino—Reuters
June 17, 2016

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.

[Reuters]

 

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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