RIO DE JANEIRO: The Air Force Minister has resigned in a bribery scandal over efforts to secure a US$1.4 billion (HK$10.8 billion) Amazon radar contract for a US company. The Office of the Presidency has confirmed the resignation of Brigadier Mauro Gandra, whose alleged ties to a Brazilian representative of a United States defence contractor have thrust him into the scandal. Brigadier Gandra cited unspecified allegations against him in the radar project, which he supervised. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso had reportedly said the Air Force Minister topped the list of people he wanted to question about the contract. Federal police wiretaps caught a presidential aide and a representative of US defence contractor Raytheon Company discussing bribing a senator to give the go-ahead to the radar project. The weekly news magazine Isto E obtained the tapes. Mr Cardoso fired his aide, Julio Cesar Gomes dos Santos, last week following the magazine's report. The tapes also indirectly called into question the role of Brigadier Gandra, a friend of Raytheon representative Jose Afonso Assumpcao. Brigadier Gandra had supported the radar project, saying it was needed to police drug traffickers. In a transcript of the wiretaps, a caller identi-fied as Mr Assumpcao complained Senator Gilberto Miranda was blocking his senate committee's approval of the project, the last remaining obstacle after the five-year contract was awarded in May. Senator Miranda denied he was offered a bribe. The contract will be re-examined, he said. 'Everything in the Amazon radar contract is open to suspicion,' he added. A Raytheon spokesman said Mr Assumpcao was an independent sales representative, not a Raytheon employee.