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Powerful Brazilian lawmaker orders Americanas accounting probe

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Brazil’s Lower House Speaker Arthur Lira attends a session at the Chamber of Deputies to vote on a constitutional amendment that increases the government spending ceiling in Brasilia, Brazil December 20, 2022. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

The head of Brazil’s lower house authorized on Wednesday the creation of a committee to investigate Americanas (AMER3.SA), the retailer at the center of a nearly $4 billion accounting scandal.

Arthur Lira gave the green light to create the so-called CPI committee, which will include 27 federal lawmakers appointed by party leaders, the lower house said in a statement posted on its website.

Americanas did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The legislative leader’s decision comes months after accounting inconsistencies were revealed that forced the firm into bankruptcy.

Americanas reached an agreement with some of its creditors earlier this month to temporarily suspend ongoing legal disputes and focus on talks about its reorganization plan.

The new congressional probe adds to other political initiatives in Brazil looking into the case.

Last month, Americanas’ former CEO Sergio Rial spoke at a Senate hearing about the retailer’s financial meltdown. The current CEO, Leonardo Coelho Pereira, and the president of Brazil’s banks federation Febraban, Isaac Ferreira, also attended.

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