News Brief –– February 28

Rogério Galloro, the new head of the Polícia Federal. Image from Agência Brasil.
  • Fernando Segovia, head of the Polícia Federal (Federal Police), is replaced by Rogério Galloro after much criticism.
  • The Prosecutor General, Raquel Dodge, wants to include Temer in another corruption investigation.

Head of the Federal Police is replaced

Fernando Segovia has been substituted for Rogério Galloro as head of the Federal Police (Polícia Federal). The replacement was announced by Raul Jungmann, the former defense minister chosen to head the new Ministry of Public Security that was created by President Michel Temer on February 26 in preparation for the federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro.

The new leader of the Federal Police was second-in-command to Leandro Daiello, the former head of the institution who was replaced by Segovia on November 10 after retiring, and is seen as a natural successor to the post with strong support within the organization.

The outgoing director, Fernando Segovia, had been under harsh criticism during most of his 110-days tenure. He was chosen by President Temer and inaugurated on November 10 last year, a few months after the release of a recording containing a conversation between business leader Joesley Batista and Temer. The recording suggested involvement in a plot to pay the jailed ex-President of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, to keep him quiet about kickback schemes relating to members of President Temer’s party MDB (Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, then known as PMDB) and other politicians.

In the context of such revelations, including the President himself being under investigation for corruption, the fact that Temer personally chose the director of the Federal Police raised suspicion. When the new Prosecutor General, Raquel Dodge, was chosen in June the same year, she was picked from a list of three choices preferred by members of the Ministério Público (which is headed by the Prosecutor General). The Federal Police had compiled a similar list but Temer chose to ignore it.

The choice of Segovia as director grew more conspicuous when he appointed as deputies people with strong ties to Temer’s party. He also cast doubt on the evidential strength of the bag of money that Temer’s close associate Rodrigo Rocha Loures was caught carrying. The bag contained R$ 500,000 (approximately $ 154,000) allegedly meant to be used for paying off Eduardo Cunha. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a recent interview with Reuters where Segovia commented on an investigation into a kickback scheme in the port of Santos, São Paulo, in which Temer allegedly was involved. Segovia told the interviewer that the case should be dismissed for lack of evidence. Segovia was severely criticized by his own agency for making such a statement about an ongoing investigation. A judge of the Supreme Court––Luís Roberto Barroso––even forbade him to talk more about the subject. Segovia’s interview with the news agency further strengthened suspicions that he was covering for President Temer.

According to Brazil’s main newspaper, Folha de S. Paulo, the new head of the agency was executive-director of the Federal Police from June 2013 until November 2017, when his boss retired. Rogério Galloro was also superintendent in the state of Goiás and director of Administration and Police Logistics. He supposedly has close ties to the Minister of Justice, Torquato Jardim, who recommended him as head of the Federal Police already last year.

Dodge wants to include Temer in investigation

Raquel Dodge, the Prosecutor General (Procurador-Geral) and head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministério Público), wants to include President Michel Temer in a corruption investigation regarding allegations that the Odebrecht corporation paid R$ 10,000,000 (approximately $ 3,000,000) to Temer’s party MDB (Movimento Democrático Brasileiro; Brazilian Democratic Movement) as kickback money in 2014. The accusation refers to a dinner in May that year at the Palácio do Jaburo––the residency of the Vice-President, the office of which Temer occupied at the time––where the money allegedly changed hands.

The former Prosecutor General, Rodrigo Janot, desisted from including the President because he interpreted the Constitution as prohibiting investigating a president for crimes committed before the mandate. Raquel Dodge––who took office on September 18 last year––argues that while a president cannot be convicted while in office it is still possible to begin investigations. Valuable evidence can be lost if the investigation is postponed and potential testimonies weakened the more time that passes.

Also included in the investigation are Temer’s Chief of Staff (minister of the Casa Civil), Eliseu Padilha, and the head of the President’s General Secretariat (Secretaria-Geral da Presidência da República), Moreira Franco––both members of President Temer’s party.

The Odebrecht conglomerate’s former CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht, has already provided some of the key testimonies of the wide-ranging Lava Jato corruption investigation. He is the grandson of the company’s founder, Norberto Odebrecht.