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THE DECLINE AND FALL OF DILMA

Brazil’s ousted president deserves some credit for backing corruption probes— even when they threatened her

@BrazilBrian

UNDER SIEGE: Rousseff and her chief of staff, Jaques Wagner, peer from the window of the presidential palace the day before the Senate voted to suspend her.
ADRIANO MACHADO/REUTERS

BACK IN MARCH 2014, when the scandal over Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras that would eventually topple the government was just getting started, some of President Dilma Rousseff’s top aides saw a golden opportunity to kill the investigation—or at least badly wound it.

Márcio Anselmo, the Federal Police deputy in charge of the probe, had given an interview to Jornal Nacional, Brazil’s most-watched news program. On-camera, Anselmo and others laid out the main points of the case, which would soon become notorious: a former Petrobras board member who had accepted a Land Rover as a bribe, the money launderer whose plea-bargain testimony would prove key and the bribes paid by some of the country’s biggest construction companies for lucrative Petrobras contracts.

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