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Rio to pay late salaries with impounded corruption money
[RIO DE JANEIRO] Rio de Janeiro hasn't been able to pay public employees properly for months, but help arrived on Tuesday in the form of a windfall from impounded corruption money.
The state is all but bankrupt, relying on federal bailouts to keep running.
However at a ceremony attended by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot, some US$83 million became available to pay the 2016 end-of-year bonus for some 146,000 retired public servants.
The money comes courtesy of funds repatriated from foreign accounts held by members of a corruption ring that was allegedly headed by former Rio governor Sergio Cabral, who ran the state between 2007 and 2014.
Brazil is in the midst of a massive anti-corruption battle, with probes being conducted into former presidents, sitting senators and many other high-profile politicians.
Despite the welcome extra funds, Rio still won't be paying many of its employees properly in the immediate future. The lucky retirees getting their bonus on Tuesday only represent 57 per cent of all retirees owed end-of-year money, according to official figures.
A politically sensitive strike by Civil Police also looks set to continue: officers were told Tuesday that there is no schedule yet for making good on late pay dating back to 2016, G1 news site reported.
Rio state "is on its knees. And when the state of Rio is on its knees, Brazil is on its knees," Mr Janot was quoted as saying by G1.