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UPDATED: 10:41, April 20, 2007
Brazilian lawmakers not exempted from anti-corruption probe: minister
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Brazilian Minister of Justice Tarso Genro on Thursday said that Congressmen involved in corruption would not be exempt from investigation.

Genro said he would not be surprised if Congressmen were investigated following the recent Operation Hurricane aimed at fighting corruption in the country.

This type of investigation of Congressmen has happened before, he added.

The minister made the remarks amid local reports that investigations by the Federal Police showed that suspects had attempted to approach members of the Brazilian Congress in order to get the approval of bills in their interests.

Twenty-five people were arrested in the operation on April 13, including court judges, public prosecutors and other public servants.

In some cases, suspects allegedly hired judges to influence decisions that favored their businesses ranging from illegal lottery to slot machines.

Police found that major players in the illegal gambling industry could be trying to get the same service from Congressmen, who could vote for bills on matters like the legalization of bingo halls in the country.

In a statement, the Federal Police revealed the names of federal representatives including Simao Sessim and Marina Maggessi, and senator Romeu Tuma.

The gambling kingpins were also reported to have control of Rio de Janeiros Samba Schools League, which sponsored the internationally famous Carnival parade.

The result of the competitive parade in February was consequently put under suspicion following the investigation, and winning samba school Beija-Flor may lose its 2007 title.

Source: Xinhua

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