Insider’s account of how graft Fed Brazil’s political crisis

Simon Romero – New York Times, 04/04/2016

BRASÍLIA — The silver-haired senator from Brazil’s western frontier was still in his pajamas when federal police agents banged on the door of his suite at the Royal Tulip, the futuristic luxury hotel that serves as a bastion for much of Brazil’s political elite. It was 6 a.m.

The agents were armed with a secret recording that sounded like the plot for a Hollywood thriller. The senator, Delcídio do Amaral, had been caught detailing an elaborate plan for an oilman ensnared in Brazil’s spiraling graft scandal to flee the country on a private plane.

Mr. Amaral, 61, was until his arrest in Brasília that morning in late November the governing party’s most powerful leader in the Senate. He quickly sought a plea agreement, but prosecutors let him fester in prison for weeks, making a deal only after the disgraced senator provided one stunning disclosure after another that betrayed his former comrades and brought the government of President Dilma Rousseff ever closer to collapse.

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