Latin America & Caribbean

'Murders for ratings' Brazil TV host dies in hospital

Wallace Souza
Image caption Wallace Souza had said the accusations were an attempt to smear him

A Brazilian TV host accused of ordering killings to boost his crime show's ratings has died, leaving his alleged involvement in the murders unexplained.

Wallace Souza died in a Sao Paulo hospital, where he had been treated for chronic liver disease since March.

Mr Souza, an ex-policeman and state deputy in Amazonas, turned himself in to the authorities last year.

Police said he ordered the killings and then alerted his own TV crews who would get to the scene first.

Mr Souza, who always denied the accusations, said they were an attempt by rivals to smear him and that there was no evidence to back them.

Authorities in Amazonas state said he ordered several killings in order to get rid of his rivals, while afterwards TV crews from his programme would mysteriously arrive at the crime scenes before the police, enabling them to secure graphic footage.

Police became suspicious about Mr Souza's programme when a report showed the body of a suspected drug dealer burning in the woods long before police arrived.

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