Rousseff declares war on corruption in midst of Petrobras scandal
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA, March 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff launched an anti-corruption offensive on Wednesday to counter rising discontent over a kickback scandal engulfing state-run oil company Petrobras that has implicated her allies and undermined her popularity.
Her anti-corruption proposals, contained in bills submitted to Congress, include the criminalization of slush funds - known in Portuguese as "Caixa 2" - that are widely used by Brazil's political parties to finance their campaigns.
Other steps would hasten the seizure of assets from people convicted of corruption and from government officials who accumulate wealth out of proportion with their income.
As part of the anti-corruption drive, Rousseff also signed a decree implementing an anti-bribery law passed more than a year ago that stiffens fines for companies but has not been applied for a lack of finalized rules.
Rousseff said she would not brush the latest corruption scandal under the carpet and sought to divert criticism.
"I'm sure all Brazilians of good faith, even those who did not vote for me, know that corruption in Brazil was not invented recently," she said in a speech.
Many Brazilians, however, hold her responsible. On Sunday, about 1 million people took to the streets of Brazil's largest cities in anti-government protests triggered by the Petrobras scandal and discontent over economic stagnation.
Some demonstrators called for her impeachment. Continuación...