Brasilia .- Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer saw circumstances further complicate when the Federal Police arrested another of his special advisers, the former governor of Brasilia, Tadeu Filippelli, in connection with a scandal linked to the misuse of public funds.
Filippelli, of the ruling Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), was arrested along with former governors Agnelo Queiroz and José Roberto Arruda and seven others, all alleged beneficiaries of a corruption scheme that facilitated over-invoicing for the construction works of the Mané Garrincha National Stadium, renovated to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
According to investigations by the Federal Police, the Mané Garrincha renovation was budgeted at 600 million reals (over 185 million USD), but ended up costing 1,575 million reals (over 490 million USD).
The resources used for the works, carried out without previous financial feasibility studies, came from the coffers of Terracap, a 49 percent state-owned company whose activities do not cover a financial operation of this kind.
According to Brazilian television reports, Filipelli and former federal deputy Rodrigo Rocha Loures, also of the PMDB, are key players in the Temer government’s relations with businesses and Congress and, despite their low profiles, are among the president’s closest collaborators.
Loures, who was a special adviser to Temer from October last year until March of this, when he replaced current Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio in the lower house, was removed from office by court order after being denounced by businessman Joesley Batista, owner of the meat processing company JBS.
A recording made by the Federal Police and widely circulated by Brazilian media showed Rocha Loures receiving a briefcase containing half a million reals, which he was due to receive weekly for 20 years as payment for his intermediation in a dispute between JBS and Petrobras, a role for which he was appointed by Temer.
The suspended legislator also served as Temer’s head of institutional relations when he was vice president.
Also recently revealed were excerpts from a recording by Batista last March at the President’s official residence, in which Temer endorsed the payment of hush money to former speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, sentenced to 15 years for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion, as part of the Lava Jato anti-corruption operation. (PL)