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Castles in the Sand | Azeredo Resigns

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Source: Caros Amigos

Trans: C. Brayton

As expected, federal deputy, former Minas Gerais governor and former president of the PSDB (Social Democrats) resigned last week from his seat in the Chamber of Deputies. His resignation letter, delivered by his son, Renato Azeredo, to the president of the House, Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB-RN), and read aloud into the record, officializes the retirement of the politician, a defendant in Case No. AP 536, the «payola of the PSDB» in Minas Gerais.

In the case under consideration by the Supreme Court, Azeredo was pointed to by the ranking federal prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, as the «maestro» of the scheme. Janot charges the Toucan with embezzling funds to fund his political campaign for governor in 1998. Janot recommends sentencing the former lawmaker to 22 years for embezzlment and money laundering.

Charges

Eduardo Azeredo was not in Brasília when the letter was delivered. In it, he says that persons who take on political responsibility are vulnerable to situations dictated by the attacks, pressure and interests of adversaries. “A tragedy befell me and my family, demolishing my good name, which I built with my constant fidelity to the principles of my late parents, Renato and Ruth Azeredo — persons who, like me, dedicated their lives to the best interests of Minas Gerais and Brazil.”

According to Azeredo, the accusations agains him are based on false testimony and forged evidence. In his letter, he says that the hiring of the PR agency of Marcos Valério was an “unfortunate coincidence” that cast suspicion on him, but he guarantees he is innocent of any charges of embezzlement. “I did not set up a fictitious business for my reelection campaign in 1998, in Minas,” he said, trying to distance himself from comparisons with the so-called «mensalão — payola — «do PT,” tried last year in the Supreme Court (STF).

The Grand Inquisitor

The lead prosecutor paints a different picture. He is working to deny that the scheme set up in Minas Gerais was later copied, in part, by the federal government of the PT. Janot believes the money was diverted from the cash reserves of the state sanitation company Copasa (Companhia de Saneamento de Minas Gerais, the Minas Gerais Mining Company (Comig), and BEMGE (Banco do Estado de Minas Gerais). The money was released in favor of the ad agency SMP&B, owned by Marcos Valério.

“There are items of evidence more than reliable enough to affirm with certainty that Azeredo played a key role in an operation that resulted in the skimming of R$ 3.5 million or thereabouts — R$ 9.3 million in today’s currency.” The diversion of funds, the prosecutor says, were managed by a feat of “complex financial engineering.”

Aécio Neves

Senator and PSDB national president Aécio Neves (MG), who earlier in the day would say only that he had “heard of the resignation,” worked to quash any rumors that the decision was the result of pressure from the PSDB during the campaign season, in which Azeredo’s successor was the party’s likely candidate for the presidency. “There was [no such pressure] as far as I know. It was private decision that should be respected.

The Magic Castle

On two occasions, during the past few weeks, Eduardo Azeredo threatened to speak from the podium on the accusations against him, but he canceled both speeches. The president of the Minas Gerais chapter of the PSDB, federal deputy Marcus Pestana (MG), was to make a statement on the situation of his former colleague and proxy and read part of Azeredo’s speech. …

Bittar’s seat will be filled by Ruy Muniz (DEM-MG) or Edmar Moreira (PR-MG), the latter of whom owns at R$ 25 million in the heart of Minas Gerais, registered to relatives.

As expected, federal deputy, former Minas Gerais governor and former president of the PSDB (Social Democrats) resigned last week from his seat in the Chamber of Deputies. His resignation letter, delivered by his son, Renato Azeredo, to the president of the House, Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB-RN), was read aloud into the record, officializes the retirement of the politician, a defendant in Case No. AP 536, the «payola of the PSDB» in Minas Gerais.

In the case under consideration by the Supreme Court, Azeredo was pointed to by the ranking federal prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, as the «maestro» of the scheme. Janot charges the Toucan with diverting funds to fund his political campaign for governor in 1998. Janot recommends sentencing the former lawmaker to 22 years for embezzlment and money laundering.

Charges

Eduardo Azeredo was not in Brasília when the letter was delivered. In it, he says that persons who take on political responsibility are vulnerable to situations dictated by the attacks, pressure and interests of adversaries. “A tragedy befell me and my family, demolishing my good name, which I built with my constant fidelity to the principles of my late parents, Renato and Ruth Azeredo — persons who, like me, dedicated their lives to the best interests of Minas Gerais and Brazil.”

According to Azeredo, the accusations agains him are based on false testimony and forged evidence. In his letter, he says that the hiring of the PR agency of Marcos Valério was an “unfortunate coincidence” that cast suspicion on him, but he guarantees he is innocent of any charges of embezzlement.  “I did not set up a fictitious business for my reelection campaign in 1998, in Minas,” he said, trying to distance himself from comparisons with the so-called «mensalão — payola — «do PT,” which tried last year in the Supreme Court (STF).

The Grand Inquisitor

The lead prosecutor paints a different picture. He is working to deny that the scheme set up in  Minas Gerais was later copied, in part, by the federal government of the PT.  Janot believes the money was diverted from the cash reserves of the state sanitation company Copasa (Companhia de Saneamento de Minas Gerais, the Minas Gerais Mining Company (Comig), and BEMGE (Banco do Estado de Minas Gerais). The money was released to the advertising agency SMP&B, owned by Marcos Valério.

“There are items of evidence more than reliable enough to affirm with certainty that Azeredo played a key role in an operation that resulted in the skimming of R$ 3.5 million or thereabouts — R$ 9.3 million in today’s currency.” The diversion of funds, the prosecutor says, were managed by a feat of “complex financial engineering.”

Aécio Neves

Senator and PSDB national president Aécio Neves (MG), who earlier in the day would say only that he had “heard of the resignation,” worked to quash any rumors that the decision was the result of pressure from the PSDB [as party president and governor of Minas Gerais]during the campaign season, in which Azeredo’s successor was the party’s likely candidate for the presidency. “There was [no such pressure] as far as I know. It was a private decision that should be respected.

Renunciation

On two occasions, during the past few weeks, Eduardo Azeredo threatened to speak from the podium on the accusations against him, but he canceled both speeches. The president of the Minas Gerais chapter of the PSDB, federal deputy Marcus Pestana (MG), was scheduled to make a statement on the situation of his former colleague and read part of Azeredo’s speech.

With the reading and publication of the resignation letter, which still must be published in the Official Diary, Azeredo might be replaced by João Bittar (DEM-MG), currently serving as his substitute.

Bittar’s empty seat will be occupied by deputy Ruy Muniz (DEM-MG) or by Edmar Moreira (PR-MG), noteworthy for the $R 25 million castle in the heartland of Minas Gerais, registered in the name of his sons.

“For our enemies, the law”

One of the most controversial aspects of the PT trial — and a potential wrench in the gears of the PSDB case — was the disturbing refusal of Supreme Court justice Gilmar Mendes to recuse himself in the related «payola of Minas Gerais.»

valerioduto1

Why? Because a ledger listing the recipients of the 1998 subsidies includes the name of Mendes, in the standard amount of R$ 186.000.

mensalc3a3o-gilmar