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Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 19:12 UK

Brazil TV host turns himself in

Wallace Souza
Wallace Souza lost his parliamentary immunity when he was expelled

A Brazilian TV presenter accused of ordering killings to boost his programme's ratings has turned himself in to police after going on the run.

Authorities had been looking for Wallace Souza since he disappeared when an arrest warrant was issued.

Mr Souza, also a former local politician, is accused of murder and drug trafficking offences. He denies the allegations.

He enjoyed legislative immunity until stripped of a political post last week.

"Souza turned himself in to the police this morning," a police spokesman in the Amazonas state capital, Manaus, told AFP news agency.

'Removing rivals'

Mr Souza has insisted that the accusations were an attempt by rivals to smear him and that there was no evidence to back them.

Authorities in the Amazonas region claim he ordered several killings in order to get rid of his rivals, while afterwards TV crews from his programme would mysteriously arrive at the crime scenes before the police, enabling them to secure graphic footage.

Police are reported to have become suspicious about Mr Souza's programme last year, when a report showed the body of a suspected drug dealer burning in the woods long before police arrived.

One of the arrest warrants described Mr Souza - a police officer whose career ended in disgrace - as the "mentor" of a gang that killed rival drug traffickers.

He is accused of being part of a criminal grouping which includes 40 members who face charges of murder.

Authorities say the former TV star's alleged crimes removed potential drug-trafficking rivals and also increased audience figures for his "Canal Livre" programme.



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