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Thursday, November 18, 1999 Published at 18:11 GMT


World: Americas

New twist in Brazil murder case

Fernando Collor - Paulo Farias worked as his adviser

By Stephen Cviic in Sao Paolo

There has been a major turnaround in the investigation of one of Brazil most famous murder mysteries.

Police have accused a federal congressman, Augusto Farias, of involvement in the death of his own brother.

Few crimes have received as much publicity in Brazil as the murder of Paulo Cesar Farias, who was shot dead in a hotel room in the northeastern city of Maceio in 1996.

He had been an adviser to former President Fernando Collor de Melo and organised the corruption scheme for which the president was forced to resign in 1992.

When Mr Farias was found dead alongside his girlfriend, most people suspected foul play - but the forensic report concluded that it was a crime of passion.

Now the story has changed.

Organised crime

Mr Farias's brother, Augusto, who is a federal deputy, and eight other people have been accused of the crime.

All this has come to light mainly because of a congressional enquiry into drug trafficking and organised crime, which has been taking Brazil by storm over the past few weeks.

The enquiry has revealed hitherto unsuspected links between politicians, police and businessmen all over this vast country and there is evidence to suggest that Augusto Farias was part of the scheme.

More than 40 people have been arrested so far and members of the enquiry team say they are hoping to discover exactly who are the big names behind organised crime in Brazil.

One of the people under investigation is the forensic scientist who originally carried out the enquiry into Mr Farias' death.

He was supposed to give evidence on Thursday, but has been taken to hospital with kidney problems.



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