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Police Seek President’s Brother-in-Law, Wanted for Murder Attempt

September 12, 1991

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Police have launched a statewide manhunt for President Fernando Collor de Mello’s brother-in-law, who is wanted for shooting at a small-town mayor in a bar.

Law enforcement officials in northeastern Alagoas state were negotiating Wednesday with the family of Joao Alvino Malta Filho, the youngest brother of First Lady Rosane Collor.

On Friday, Malta Filho fired on Mauro Fernandes, mayor of the backwoods town of Canapi. Malta Filho accused the mayor of passing false information to the press about a charity scandal involving Mrs. Collor.

Fernandes escaped injury because his driver knocked Malta Filho’s arm as he squeezed the trigger.

Mrs. Collor recently resigned from the charity, the Brazilian Legion of Assistance, amid charges that she had awarded lucrative contracts to family members. The funds, doled out without competitive bidding, paid for services that were never rendered.

Mrs. Collor has denied any wrongdoing.

Malta Filho killed the son-in-law of a family political foe in 1987, five years after his older brother, Pompilho, gunned down a man in Canapi.

Their cousin, Laercio Malta - now head of the state electric company - is another admitted killer, having murdered city councilman Wilson Brito in 1988.

No Malta has been tried for the killings.