July 23, 2019 / 3:48 PM / 2 months ago

Hacking of Brazil economy minister's cellphone being investigated

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Justice Minister Sergio Moro looks on during a ceremony outside the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil July 3, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s economy ministry is urging Justice Minister Sergio Moro to consider opening a criminal investigation into the possible hacking of Economy Minister Paulo Guedes’s cellphone, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Economy Ministry can confirm that the possible hacking of Minister Paulo Guedes’s phone is being investigated. A letter will be sent to the Justice Minister Sergio Moro, to call the Federal Police,” the statement to journalists read.

The statement said several journalists received messages and calls on Monday, seemingly from Guedes via the ‘Telegram’ app, but stressed Guedes has never had a Telegram account. His former cellphone number has now been deactivated, it said.

Guedes is the latest high-ranking government official to be targeted in this way.

Last month, Moro himself faced intense pressure to resign after leaked personal messages raised doubts about his impartiality as the judge that oversaw landmark corruption cases, most notably the so-called ‘Car Wash’ probe.

On Sunday, the government’s leader in Congress Joice Hasselmann said in a post on Twitter that her phone had been hacked and ‘cloned,’ and that the police had been alerted.

Federal prosecutors also recently suffered cyber attacks, including Deltan Dallagnol, coordinator of the Car Wash case that has led to the imprisonment of scores of politicians and businessman in Brazil, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Jamie McGeever; Writing by Ana Mano and Jamie McGeever; Editing by Bermadette Baum

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