June 3 (Bloomberg) -- Brazilian Cabinet Chief Antonio Palocci will give a television interview today, his first since it was reported his income surged while he managed President Dilma Rousseff’s campaign last year, a government official said.
The interview with TV Globo is being taped this afternoon in Brasilia, said the official, who is familiar with the plans though could not be named because he’s not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.
Tonight’s nationally broadcast interview comes as Rousseff is facing rising pressure from both political opponents and allies to dismiss Palocci, who may face a formal congressional probe and be required to testify to lawmakers. Senator Pedro Simon, from Vice President Michel Temer’s Democratic Movement Party, said in the Senate yesterday that Palocci should resign.
“An interview by itself won’t be enough to ensure that Palocci continues in the government,” said Rafael Cortez, an analyst at Tendencias Consultoria Integrada and professor of political science at Pontificia Universidade Catolica in Sao Paulo. “Whether he stays or not, the government will need to change its strategy and Dilma will need to become closer to the congress to seek approval of important legislation.”
Palocci also will give an interview to Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, the official said. On May 15, the Sao Paulo-based newspaper reported that he paid 6.6 million reais ($4 million) for an apartment in Sao Paulo last year.
On May 20, Folha reported he made 20 million reais last year as a consultant, while also serving in congress and managing Rousseff’s election campaign.
Brazil’s federal prosecutor, Jose Rocha Junior, will investigate whether Palocci’s consulting fee earnings broke the law.
Brazil’s general prosecutor, Roberto Gurgel, responsible for investigating possible criminal conduct on the part of Cabinet ministers, has made two requests to Palocci to explain the jump in his personal wealth. The prosecutor has no deadline for presenting his findings.
Palocci’s consulting firm, Projeto Consultoria Financeira e Economica Ltda, stopped advising companies when he was named Cabinet chief. The company earned 160,000 reais in 2006, its first year of business, Folha de S.Paulo reported.
Palocci rose to national prominence when he served as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s finance minister from 2003 to 2006.
As finance minister, Palocci paid $15.5 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund ahead of schedule and sponsored a bankruptcy law favoring creditors over workers.
Palocci also helped craft regulations allowing loan payments to be deducted from paychecks, which helped fuel a record expansion of credit among low-income families. Under his watch, inflation slowed to 5.3 percent from 17.2 percent. The benchmark Bovespa stock index more than doubled.
Palocci, 50, resigned in March 2006 after lawmakers accused him of illegally obtaining and leaking the private banking records of a witness in a bribery investigation that targeted senior officials of Lula’s Workers’ Party.
The witness, a caretaker, placed Palocci at a Brasilia residence where politicians and lobbyists allegedly negotiated bribes and partied with prostitutes.
Palocci denied any wrongdoing. The Supreme Court cleared him of breaking bank secrecy laws in 2009.
Palocci should explain his earnings by taking questions at a news conference and testifying before congress, Workers’ Party Senator Eduardo Suplicy said in an interview yesterday. Palocci didn’t commit any wrongdoing, he said.
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