Yesterday, Federal judge Ariel Lijo changed Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou’s court date from July 15 to June 9. Boudou will face charges of corruption, illegal negotiations as a public employee, and illegal profiteering related to his purchase of the Ciccone Calcográfica printing company with a partner in 2010. Boudou allegedly planned to use the company to print bank notes and official documentation. Given that he was economic minister at the time, the acquisition would have been illegal according to Argentine law.
The vice president maintains his innocence and has challenged the judge to have a televised trial. On Wednesday his defense team requested that the summons be annulled, claiming that the allegations were based on “false affirmations, lacking legal, factual and evidential substance.”
Once seen as a possible successor to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Boudou met yesterday with the president, who after months of maintaining her distance, has expressed her support for the defendant and ordered him to accept the summons.
He has since cancelled a trip planned for next week to attend the Architecture Biennial in Venice, Italy. In a strange coincidence, the mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, was arrested yesterday along with 34 others on charges of bribery and corruption.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s (International Federation of Association Football—FIFA) Honorary President João Havelange resignation was made public Tuesday following the publication of an internal ethics committee repot that implicated him in a $155.4 million bribery scandal. The 96 year-old Brazilian national served as FIFA president from 1974 to 1988.
Havelange and his son-in-law, former Brazilian Football Confederation President Ricardo Teixeira, allegedly received bribes from the Swiss-based International Sport and Leisure (ISL) in exchange for exclusive rights to market the World Cup to some of the world’s biggest brands from 1992 to 2000. They were found guilty of "morally and ethically reproachable conduct" by FIFA ethics court judge Joachim Eckert. Although accepting the bribes at the time was not a crime given that FIFA’s ethics code came into force in 2012, Eckert found that they should not have accepted the money, and believes that they should pay it back as it was “in connection with the exploitation of media rights.”
FIFA has been plagued by controversy in recent years with corruption charges at every level. Most recently, FIFA’s leadership, including President Sepp Blatter, was accused of selling votes to Qatar’s bidding committee leading up to its successful bid for the 2022 World Cup. The international governing body has also taken steps to address widespread match-fixing scandals and rampant on-the-pitch-racism against players of color.
Brazil’s Minister of Cities Mário Negromonte resigned on Thursday amid allegations of corruption published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. Wednesday’s report alleged that the ministry’s executive director Roberto Munize held secret meetings with a lobbyist from Negromonte’s Partido Progressista (Progressive Party) and a businessman who was interested in bidding on a public works contract in Cuiaba that the ministry was in charge of granting.
The minister of cities coordinates urban development policies like Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life), a federal program that builds low-cost housing for families making less than $1,600 reais ($930) per month. As a result of its booming economy, 80 percent of Brazilians now live in urban centers, giving increased importance to the ministry.
President Dilma Rousseff accepted Negromonte’s resignation and Aguinaldo Ribeiro, who is also a member of the Progressive Party, is expected to be inaugurated as the new minster of cities on Monday. Following a meeting with the president, Ribeiro said that his top priority will be “overcoming obstacles” in the ministry and that he would use the weekend to consider the “real outcomes” of the ministry’s actions.
Negromonte is the seventh member of President Rousseff’s cabinet to step down since June on unrelated corruption charges, along with the ministers of defense, transportation, labor, the chief of staff, and others.
June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.