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Brazilian Congressman Withdraws Candidacy for Agriculture Minister Amid Fraud Charges


Brazil's government says a congressmen selected to be the country's next agriculture minister has turned down the post because of fraud charges he faces in the Supreme Court.

Obdilio Balbinotti of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party announced his decision Saturday, turning down the nomination by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Prosecutors have accused Balbinotti, a successful soybean farmer, of using a false identity to acquire bank loans. He says he is innocent.

Mr. da Silva has been trying to fill more Cabinet posts with members of the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party - the nation's largest political party - as part of an alliance with his leftist Workers Party.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.