RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — Brazil’s former tourism minister Henrique Eduardo Alves was accused of paying out bribes worth millions of U.S. dollars to politicians in exchange for governorship of the Rio Grande do Norte state, local media said Tuesday.
The accusation against Alves was put forward by businessman Fred Queiroz, who was arrested for corruption earlier this year and turned state’s evidence in exchange for lenience in the court, according to news website G1.
Queiroz claimed that Alves used 7 million reals (2.2 million U.S. dollars) to buy the support of several political leaders in the first round of the gubernatorial election held in 2014, and 4 million reals (1.3 million U.S. dollars) in the second round of the election. However, despite the high sums spent, Alves did not manage to win the gubernatorial election.
Alves’ legal team denied all the accusations, saying the former minister’s defense will be presented in court, where he will prove his innocence.
Queiroz was arrested in June on charges of corruption, frauds and money laundering in the construction of the Dunes Arena, one of the soccer stadiums that hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
At the time, Alves was jailed for involvement in the case. He is still in prison now, awaiting trial for taking million-dollar bribes to favor private companies in the contracts for the arena’s construction.
The bribes Alves took in the Dunes Arena case were believed to be used to ensure political support in his campaign for governor.