The Brazilian Senate's Ethics Committee decided Tuesday to begin the process of expelling Sen. Demostenes Torres, who is accused of being part of an organization that runs gambling rackets.

The decision was made unanimously by the 15 members of the committee, who are convinced that there are reliable indications of close links between Torres and businessman Carlos Augusto Ramos, known as "Carlinhos Cachoeira" and the purported head of the criminal outfit.

Court-authorized wiretaps of Cachoeira, who has been under arrest since February, revealed his close connection to Torres.

Several of the recordings have been made public by the media and in some of them, Sen. Torres warned Cachoeira about operations that the authorities were preparing to combat illegal gambling.

The wiretaps also taint the governors of Brasilia and Goias, Agnelo Queiroz and Marconi Perillo, respectively.

In addition, they affect the Delta construction firm, which was awarded lucrative public contracts, notably in Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Also maintaining close relations with top Delta officials is the governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Sergio Cabral, who is now suspected of being linked to a vast corruption network set up by Cachoeira.

Due to the dimensions of the case, Congress set up a special bicameral committee to investigate the business activities engaged in by the companies of Cachoeira, whose legal counsel is former Justice Minister Marcio Thomaz Bastos, one of Brazil's most respected jurists.