Wednesday, 4 Aug 2021

Brazil justice minister quits in political clash

Brazil’s Justice Minister Sergio Moro has resigned amid tension with President Jair Bolsonaro.

Mr Moro, a former judge, had threatened to quit after the president fired one of his allies – federal police chief Mauricio Valeixo – on Thursday.

Speaking on TV, Mr Moro said there was no reason to sack Mr Valeixo, calling it political interference.

Mr Moro is one of the president’s most popular ministers. He oversaw Brazil’s biggest-ever anti-corruption probe.

Mr Valeixo’s dismissal was announced, with no further details, in the official gazette.

Mr Moro had threatened to resign if Mr Valeixo were dismissed, but then said he would stay if he were allowed to choose a replacement.

Brazil’s currency – the real – sank to a record low of 5.50 per dollar on Thursday, amid the political uncertainty.

Fighting corruption was a key issue for Jair Bolsonaro in his 2018 presidential campaign.

Mr Moro once said he “would never enter politics”, but later said he accepted the invitation to join Mr Bolsonaro’s cabinet in order to implement an anti-corruption and anti-organised crime agenda.

He was promised full autonomy for his department, which united the justice and public security portfolio in a so-called “super ministry”.

Mr Moro oversaw a huge corruption probe which exposed billions of dollars in bribes and ended in the jailing of many powerful businessmen and politicians, including leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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