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Brazil president fires key aide linked to corruption scandal

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By the Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has officially dismissed his key aide in charge of dealings with congress, days after a newspaper linked him to a corruption scandal involving phony candidates and the misuse of campaign funds.

FILE - In this Oct.18, 2018 file photo, Gustavo Bebianno Rocha, then-president of the Social Liberal Party, speaks to journalists in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After days of uncertainty, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro officially fired Bebianno as his secretary general on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, after a major Brazilian newspaper reported in Feb. 2019 that Bebianno was entangled in a corruption scandal involving phony candidates and the misuse of campaign funds. Bebianno denies any wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

FILE – In this Oct.18, 2018 file photo, Gustavo Bebianno Rocha, then-president of the Social Liberal Party, speaks to journalists in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After days of uncertainty, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro officially fired Bebianno as his secretary general on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, after a major Brazilian newspaper reported in Feb. 2019 that Bebianno was entangled in a corruption scandal involving phony candidates and the misuse of campaign funds. Bebianno denies any wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

Government spokesman Otavio Rego Barros didn’t say Monday what motivated the president’s decision to fire aide Gustavo Bebianno, who has been a close ally of Bolsonaro. Bebianno has denied any wrongdoing.

The scandal has cast a shadow over the government’s first weeks in power and is proving a distraction on the eve of the administration presenting sensitive legislation to congress. Lawmakers are set to receive this week an anti-crime bill and a proposal to overhaul Brazil’s pension system, the government’s flagship reform.

Bolsonaro ran his campaign on the promise that he will tackle corruption.

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