September 10, 2016 / 3:50 PM / 3 years ago

Brazil's ousted AG says government tries to stifle graft probe: magazine

A demonstrator holds up Brazil's national flag at a protest against Brazil's then President Dilma Rousseff calling for her impeachment, in Brasilia, Brazil, May 9, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s new government is trying to stifle a corruption investigation targeting politicians and major parties, the former attorney general said in a magazine interview a day after being replaced by President Michel Temer.

The former official, Fabio Medina Osorio, told weekly magazine Veja that he was fired because he tried to deepen the so-called “Car Wash” corruption probe. Three ministers of Temer’s cabinet have already resigned since he took office in May after being linked to the probe.

“The government wants to smother the Car Wash probe. It is very worried,” Osorio was quoted as saying by Veja.

Efforts by Reuters to contact Osorio were unsuccessful. A spokesman for the presidential office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Temer has previously said that his government would not obstruct any corruption investigations.

Osorio was replaced by Grace Maria Mendonça. In a statement, the office of the attorney general said it remains committed to its constitutional mission against corruption.

“Operation Carwash”, which was named for its beginnings as a money-laundering probe, has ensnared dozens of top politicians and jailed chief executives from Brazil’s biggest construction firms for paying billions in bribes for bloated contracts.

Reporting by Silvio Cascione; editing by Grant McCool

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