Brazil feds freeze state of Rio de Janeiro accounts for debt

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s federal government has frozen the accounts of the state of Rio de Janeiro because of a large outstanding debt.

Monday’s decision is the latest development in a long-standing financial crisis.

The state declared a state of financial emergency ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, hosted by Brazil’s most famous city in August.

That decision allowed the state to shift funds. Still, many public workers haven’t been paid in months.

In a statement, the finance secretary says the state owes the federal government 170 million reals (US$53 million). It says the accounts will remain frozen until that debt is collected.

Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao tells the G1 news portal that he’ll travel to the capital of Brasilia to negotiate.