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Brazil minister denies pact aimed at stopping Car Wash probe

Romero Jucá called the press to clarify the statements attributed to

Published in 23/05/2016 - 15:56

By Agência Brasil Brasília

Brasília - O ministro do Planejamento, Romero Jucá, durante entrevista coletiva explica teor da conversa gravada entre ele e o ex-presidente da Transpetro Sérgio Machado em que teria feito pacto para barrar investiga

Planning Minister Romero Jucá Antonio Cruz/Agência Brasil

In a statement made today (May 23), Planning Minister Romero Jucá denied ever having attempted to obstruct investigations under Operation Car Wash. Jucá announced he will not resign, and added he does not fear being targeted by any probes.

“I've never committed, nor will I commit, any act aimed at hampering with any operation—be it Car Wash or any other,” Jucá said during a press conference. “For my part, I've always advocated and explicitly supported Operation Car Wash through my actions. Politics will have its history changed after Operation Car Wash.”

The newspaper Folha de S. Paulo published a news story today with conversations recorded in March in which current Planning Minister Romero Jucá is heard suggesting to former Transpetro President Sérgio Machado a pact aimed at preventing Operation Car Wash from further closing in on the PMDB, of which the ministry is a member.

Car Wash

In the recordings, the news story reports, the minister is heard suggesting that the government would have to change in order to “stanch the bleeding.” According to the newspaper, the minister is referring to Operation Car Wash, a crackdown on fraud and wrongdoing in contracts at state-controlled oi giant Petrobras.

When questioned about the recordings, Jucá said he was not referring to an attempt to bring probes into a halt, but rather to the economic scenario facing the country.

“I was talking about assigning responsibilities, i.e., sorting out those who are guilty from those who aren't. Assigning responsibilities doesn't mean to stop the investigation. There's no such dialogue in the conversation,” he said, arguing that the newspaper used “isolated sentences from a dialogue.”

“The analysis and the remarks I made with Senator Sérgio Machado [former president of Transpetro, a subsidiary of Petrobras] are free to the public. I said what I've always told journalists in interviews and debates,” he maintained.

“What's in the text isn't compromising to me,” he added. “There's nothing discreditable about being investigated. Anyone could be—being convicted is what's really discreditable. I harbor no fear of being targeted by the Car Wash. If my house were made of glass, I wouldn't have assumed the presidency of the PMDB in such a key moment of confrontation with the PT.”

Resignation

Jucá said he talked to acting President Michel Temer today and showed his stance on the news report. The minister said he does not plan to resign, and stressed that his “post belongs to the president.” Jucá went on to state that the fact that he is under scrutiny by no means weakens Temer's administration, and added that his job is to help the government.

Thus far, the Supreme Court has not made a statement on the matter. According to Folha de S. Paulo, the recordings add up to more than one hour and are in the possession of the Prosecutor-General's Office (PGR). When reached by Agência Brasil, the PGR declined to comment.


Translated by Fabrício Ferreira


Fonte: Brazil minister denies pact aimed at stopping Car Wash probe
Edition: Carolina Pimentel / Nira Foster

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