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Brazil Soap Opera Continues With Arrest Of Former Finance Minister

Brazil Soap Opera Continues With Arrest Of Former Finance Minister

Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras (ADR) (NYSE: PBR) has been in the spotlight this week, up roughly 5.5 percent.

Earlier this week, the country’s former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was indicted in a corruption probe related to the energy company, which also announced a 25 percent reduction in its five-year spending plan.

Following these events, analysts at Raymond James and Barclays issued some bullish commentary.

In the latest development in this soap opera-worthy saga, Guido Mantega, Brazil’s former finance minister, who also served as Petrobras’ Chairman a few years ago, was arrested on Thursday. Sources said that, back in 2012, he had requested tycoon Eike Batista a bribe of roughly 5 million Reais, or about $2.5 million at the time. Although the object of such payoff wasn't clear, it had been framed as a donation to the Workers' Party – to which Mantega, Lula and impeached Dilma Rousseff all belong.

Related Link: A Bittersweet Day For Democracy: Brazil President Dilma Rousseff Impeached

Mantega was released a few hours after his arrest, for he had cooperated with authorities and his home had been searched. This, added to the fact that he’s quite busy accompanying his wife in her fight against cancer, indicated he wasn't likely to interfere with the investigation, said federal judge Sergio Moro – considered by many as the leader of the opposition.

While a similar scandal would be inconceivable in other regions of the world, it's no news to Latin American politics. In fact, readers should know that politics tend to pierce investigations as the one Mantega, Lula and Rousseff have been involved in as well.


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