Brazil's Transparency Minister Fabiano Silveira resigned Monday after leaked recordings suggested he tried to derail a sprawling corruption probe, the latest cabinet casualty impacting interim President Michel Temer's administration.
Silveira, the man Temer tasked with fighting corruption since he took office on May 12, announced his plans to step down in a letter, according to the presidential palace's media office. No replacement for Silveira has yet been named.
Silveira and Senate President Renan Calheiros became the latest officials ensnared by leaked recordings secretly made by a former oil industry executive as part of a plea bargain. The same tapes led to the resignation last week of Romero Juca, whom Temer had named as planning minister.
A government source told Reuters on Monday that Silveira would stay in his job "for now," without elaborating.
In parts of the recordings, aired by TV Globo late Sunday, Silveira criticizes prosecutors in the probe focused on state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, which has already implicated dozens of politicians and led to the imprisonment of top executives.
In the conversation, recorded at Calheiros' home three months before Silveira became a Cabinet minister, Silveira advises the Senate leader on how best to defend himself from the probe into Petrobras.
The former head of the transportation arm of Petrobras, Sergio Machado, who is under investigation as part of the graft probe and has turned state's witness, recorded the meeting and conversations with other politicians to obtain leniency from prosecutors. Silveira was a counsellor on the National Justice Counsel, a judicial watchdog agency, at the time of the meeting.
In the report, Globo TV also said some audio indicated that Silveira on several occasions spoke with prosecutors in charge of the Petrobras case to find out what information they might have on Calheiros, which he reported back to the Senate leader.