Lula's former finance minister and close aide to leave Brazil government transition

Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega arrives at the Ministry of Finance in Brasilia December 4, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo

BRASILIA, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The transition government of Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will no longer count on the participation of his former finance minister and close aide Guido Mantega, who asked to be removed on Thursday.

According to the transition team's press officer, Mantega sent a letter to Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin, who then thanked him. The removal request was published earlier by the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

Former finance minister for Lula and his leftist Workers Party (PT) successor from 2006 to 2014, Mantega was announced a week ago as a member of the budget planning group, triggering market complaints due to his support of greater state interference in the economy.

The audit court TCU disqualified Mantega from holding a position in public administration due to his involvement in postponing payments by the federal government to artificially improve public accounts, culminating in the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff.

As a result, his participation in the transition group was voluntary and unpaid.

According to a source on the transition team, Mantega had indicated that he would ask to leave the group due to what he saw as an attempt to judicialize his voluntary participation.

With Lula's blessing, Mantega recently sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and spoke with representatives of Latin American countries to ask for the postponement of the Nov. 20 election for leader of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Outgoing right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro had nominated former central bank chief Ilan Goldfajn to run for IDB leader. Mantega argued that it was necessary to build a candidacy representing the region's union and that Brazil's nomination had to reflect its newly elected government.

Reporting by Victor Borges; additional reporting from Marcela Ayres; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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