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Iran Press TV

Second minister in new Brazil cabinet resigns after audio leaks

Iran Press TV

Tue May 31, 2016 8:54AM

In a new blow to Brazil's interim government, another minister has stepped down after the leak of a new audio tape that reveals him trying to disrupt a corruption investigation at the state oil company.

Transparency Minister Fabiano Silveira resigned on Monday from the government of acting president Michel Temer, the presidential palace's media office confirmed.

He stepped down after Brazil's Globo television released a secretly taped conversation on Sunday night, in which Silveira was heard talking to Senate President Renan Calheiros and Sergio Machado, the president of Petrobras subsidiary Transpetro.

On Monday, a protest rally was held outside the Transparency Portal offices in Brasilia, with the demonstrators chanting slogans and trying to block his entry into the building.

The anti-corruption protesters mobbed Silvieri's car as he arrived at the government offices after he officially stepped down.

Both Calheiros and Machado are being investigated in the Petrobras probe, which has implicated dozens of senior politicians and has led to the jailing of several top business executives.

Silveira was caught in the audio saying that the prosecution in the case was "lost" and gave advice to Machado on how to protect himself from the investigation.

In the resignation letter, Silveira said his remarks were "generic comments and simple opinion, amplified by the climate of political exasperation to which we all bear witness."

The conversation was recorded by Machado on March, when Silveira was serving on the National Council of Justice, according to Brazilian media.

He became the second minister to quit office in over two weeks as the corruption probe is not taking a toll on Brazil's interim cabinet.

A similar audio tape also released last week in Brazil, which led to the resignation of Planning Minister Romero Juca.

Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, published the transcript of the secretly-taped conversation between him and Machado.

Juca was heard saying suspended President Dilma Rousseff needed to be removed in an attempt to quash a vast corruption investigation that implicated him and other politicians.

The tape was recorded just weeks before the lower house of parliament voted to impeach Rousseff.

The impeachment bid was launched over allegations that the president manipulated government accounts before the last election. Rousseff, however, has denied the allegations.

Brazil's upper chamber of the National Congress eventually voted to suspend Rousseff earlier this month and begin an impeachment trial against her. Temer stepped up from the post of vice-president and replaced her.

Reacting to the leaks, Rousseff formerly said the tape proves that she has been a victim of a "political coup d'état."

Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper published an interview with Rousseff on Sunday, in which she argued that that impeachment against her was designed to stop the investigation into the case.

"The dialogues show that the real cause for my impeachment was an attempt to obstruct the 'Car Wash' operation," Rousseff said. "It was all made by those who thought that, without changing the government, the bleeding (of politicians) would continue."

Temer, however, said last week that the investigation into Petrobras would not only continue but that he himself plans to press for it to be even tougher.

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