April 26, 2020

Bolsonaro Seen Tapping Ally to Head Justice Ministry Amid Crisis
(Bloomberg) -- President Jair Bolsonaro is expected to nominate a close ally to head Brazil’s justice ministry, replacing a previous cabinet member who accused him of trying to meddle in police investigations, according to Folha de S.Paulo newspaper.The move would do little to dismiss allegations of political interference leveled against the president by Sergio Moro, a former star judge who landed behind bars top politicians and business leaders during a sprawling anti-corruption investigation dubbed Carwash. Moro set off a political storm in Brazil when he resigned as justice minister on Friday, just after Bolsonaro fired the head of the federal police.The president intends to announce Jorge Oliveira, an old-time friend and currently his secretary general, as justice minister, Folha reported, citing a person familiar with his plan. The new police chief will be Alexadre Ramagem, who leads the national intelligence agency and is close to the president’s sons, according to the paper.Bolsonaro’s press office didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.Moro’s abrupt resignation tainted Bolsonaro’s anti-corruption credentials, one of the pillars of his government, leaving the president more vulnerable to impeachment efforts and criminal investigations. The political crisis hits the government just as Brazil braces for the worst weeks of the Coronavirus pandemic and months of economic disaster. The real has lost almost 30% of its value this year, the most among the world’s main currencies, as investors fear Brazil’s political and fiscal stabilities are at risk.Read More: Bolsonaro Bet Big With Two Promises and Both Are in TroubleCriminal InvestigationPressure against Bolsonaro is mounting as the country’s top court is expected to endorse as early as Monday a request from the nation’s top prosecutor to investigate Moro’s allegations. In his resignation speech, the former judge said Bolsonaro had started to demand the replacement of the police chief in the second half of 2019, without good reason.The federal police carry out a number of investigations with potential to implicate Bolsonaro’s family, including a probe on the spread of fake news and another on alleged irregularities at Rio de Janeiro’s state assembly, where one of his sons served as lawmaker. The family has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.Another threat to Bolsonaro could come from Congress, where Lower House Speaker Rodrigo Maia sits on two dozen impeachment requests against the president. Others are expected to be filed in the next few days. Yet the speaker is in no rush to initiate impeachment proceedings, according to people familiar with his thinking.In an attempt to build support among legislators, Bolsonaro has started to offer positions in state-controlled companies to lawmakers from centrist parties.Moro is not the only minister to clash with Bolsonaro. Earlier this month the president fired his health minister after he refusing to bow to demands to ease coronavirus social distancing policies in favor of reopening the economy. Tensions with economy Minister Paulo Guedes are also on the rise.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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