Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Interview may cost lawyer job as Brazil justice minister

Published:Thursday | April 28, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Brazil’s Vice-President Michel Temer attends an interview with journalists on the impeachment process of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, in Brasilia, Brazil, on Wednesday, April 27.

A lawyer being considered as Brazil's next justice minister may have lost his appointment because of an interview he gave.

The office of Vice-President Michel Temer, in line to become Brazil's chief of state if President Dilma Rousseff is impeached, said that Antonio Claudio Mariz de Oliveira had been a possible candidate to head the Justice Ministry. But Temer's office would not comment on reports that said de Oliveira was no longer in the running because of an interview he gave to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that was published on Wednesday.

De Oliveira said in that interview that the Federal Police should focus on something other than the fight against corruption, fuelling fears that Rousseff's impeachment could undermine the investigation of corruption at state-owned oil company Petrobras.

"Besides combating corruption, the Federal Police must have other priorities, like fighting organised crime and the inability of local police departments to contains its expansion," de Oliveira said in the interview.

Citing unnamed members of Temer's staff, the Folha de S. Paulo said he could not have a cabinet member who has criticised the investigation into corruption at Petrobras.

Earlier this year, de Oliveira signed a manifesto criticising the investigation describing it as an "inquisition".

Staffers told the newspaper that Temer could not have anyone doubt his "commitment to the investigation".