BRASILIA (Reuters) - The Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) filed a request on Monday to impeach President Dilma Rousseff for obstructing justice, fiscal accounting tricks and granting international soccer body FIFA tax-exempt status during the 2014 World Cup.
Rousseff already faces an impeachment process over the alleged manipulation of government accounts that opposition parties maintain helped her win narrow re-election in 2014 by allowing her to boost public spending.
Rousseff supporters tried to physically block the entry of the new impeachment request in the lower house of Congress, shouting the left-wing slogan “Não passaram!” (They shall not pass) while pushing and shoving opponents of the embattled president.
The most serious impeachable offense in the new request is the alleged interference by the president in investigations into the massive Petrobras corruption scandal. It is based on plea bargain testimony by Senator Delcidio Amaral, a key legislative ally for Rousseff before he was arrested in November.
The OAB added the controversial appointment last week to Rousseff’s Cabinet of her predecessor and mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, which the lawyers argued was an illegal move to shield him from prosecution in the Petrobras graft probe. Lula’s appointment was suspended pending review by the Supreme Court.
The OAB, which represents 1 million lawyers, also listed a complaint that is shared by many Brazilians, that the Rousseff government hurt Brazil’s interests by granting FIFA a generous blanket tax exemption when it held the World Cup in Brazil.
The World Cup generated revenues of $4.8 billion for FIFA, against expenses of $2.2 billion, according to FIFA’s website.
The new impeachment petition will join a dozen others waiting for consideration by the speaker of the house Eduardo Cunha, a fierce critic of Rousseff who himself is facing corruption charges related to the Petrobras case for allegedly receiving millions in bribes and having undeclared Swiss bank accounts.
Cunha can accept a second bid to impeach the president in tandem with the current process but he is only expected to do so if the first case against Rousseff is defeated.
Rousseff is struggling to save her presidency in the midst of the worst economic recession in a generation and the widening graft investigation that started at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.
The odds that the country’s first woman president will be impeached could rise sharply on Tuesday when her largest coalition partner, the PMDB party, is expected to break with her government.
Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Andrew Hay and Bernard Orr