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Brazil's labor minister quits amid allegations of corruption

By Helena de Moura, CNN
updated 8:14 PM EST, Sun December 4, 2011
Labor Minister Carlos Lupi (right) with Argentinian Labor Minister Carlos Tomada (left). Lupi is accused of corruption.
Labor Minister Carlos Lupi (right) with Argentinian Labor Minister Carlos Tomada (left). Lupi is accused of corruption.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carlo Lupi resigns as labor minister amid an alleged corruption scandal
  • Lupi says he is the victim of political and media persecution
  • He is the seventh cabinet member in Brazil to resign this year

(CNN) -- Brazil's cabinet lost another minister Sunday with the resignation of Carlo Lupi, who as labor minister became embroiled in an alleged corruption scandal involving non-governmental organizations.

Brazil's official Agencia Brasil news agency reported Sunday that Lupi became the focus of an ethics investigation involving the alleged misuse of public funds and alleged preferential treatment of certain NGOs.

On his webiste, Lupi claimed that he was the victim of political and media persecution.

"Given the political and personal persecution I have suffered for two months by the media, without proof and without a right of defense, taking in account the recommendation by the President's Ethics Commission, which also summarily condemned me using a certain newscast and not allowing me the right to defend myself -- I decided (to resign) irrevocably," Lupi stated.

President Dilma Rousseff accepted his resignation, the agency reported.

On Thursday, ethics commission President Sepulveda Pertence officially recommended Lupi's dismissal after a lengthy investigation.

President Rousseff, however, did not dismiss Lupi, claiming she was studying the investigation.

She did force him to apologize for telling the commission the only way he would leave his post was to be "sprayed by bullets."

The next day, his apology created more controversy.

"President Dilma, I am sorry if I was aggressive, that was not my intention. I love you. I am sorry," Lupi said.

The investigation against Lupi began after news reports showed him traveling in a private plane paid for by a non-governmental organization that was receiving money through his ministry. Investigations showed several irregularities and alleged kickbacks that benefited several other NGOs.

Lupi vociferously denied all accusations, often shouting at members of the ethics commission, claiming he was a scapegoat and a victim of a conservative plot against the Rousseff government.

He is the seventh cabinet member to resign this year.

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