Brazil’s interim government was rocked Monday by a new corruption scandal in which a key minister allegedly discusses using impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff to halt a massive probe into embezzlement.
Folha newspaper published what it said were excerpts of secretly taped conversations in March between Planning Minister Romero Juca and Sergio Machado, an ex-president of Transpetro oil company, both of whom have been caught up in the corruption probe.
In the conversations, Juca allegedly calls for a “national pact” to stop the probe, known as Operation Car Wash, in which dozens of top ranking politicians and business executives have been charged or already convicted for participation in a giant bribery and embezzlement scheme centered on state oil company Petrobras.
Transcripts of the conversations show him urging impeachment of Rousseff, saying “we need to change the government to stop this bleeding.”
In comments immediately taken up by Rousseff supporters as evidence for her claim that the impeachment process is a coup in disguise, Juca says: “I am talking to the generals, the military commanders. They are fine with this, they said they will guarantee it.”
According to the transcripts, he also says that he has been clearing his plans with justices on the Supreme Court, which oversees impeachment proceedings.