Brazil’s sports minister has resigned amid a scandal which calls into question much of the backdrop for the 2016 Olympics and 2014 World Cup.
Brazil’s sports minister resigned Wednesday after fighting corruption allegations for more than a week, the sixth minister forced to leave office since June.
Sports Minister Orlando Silva maintained his innocence against allegations he took part in a kickback scheme but said he was resigning to avoid a continuation of a political crisis for the government.
“I submitted my resignation. I decided to leave the government so that I can defend my honor,” Silva said after an hourlong meeting with President Dilma Rousseff.
Several people have come forward in the past 12 days to accuse Silva of involvement in kickback schemes linked to projects for social sports programs. On Tuesday, Brazil’s Supreme Court said it opened an investigation into the allegations. Silva has already denied the accusations before a congressional panel.
A spokesman with Rousseff’s office said no replacement for Silva had been named.
Silva was tasked with overseeing Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, though his departure is unlikely to effect preparations for those events because responsibilities are spread across many federal ministries, as well as state and city governments.
Silva returned from the Pan American Games in Mexico last week to defend himself against the accusations, which first surfaced in the newsmagazine Veja, whose reports on corruption have helped lead to the removal of four other ministers since June.
Veja quoted police officer Joao Dias Ferreira, who runs a nonprofit sports youth organization, as saying kickbacks were personally delivered to Silva so that the nonprofit could receive government funds.
Silva denies receiving any money from Dias’ group and said he believes the allegation was made in retaliation for an investigation he launched into how Dias’ group was using government money.