RIO DE JANEIRO – A former senior executive of construction company Odebrecht linked Brazilian President Michel Temer to an illegal payment of $3 million, according to a leaked statement released by local media on Friday which the presidency rejected and strongly condemned.
Temer’s alleged involvement with Odebrecht’s transfer of 10 million reais (about $3 million) was revealed to the Brazilian Justice by the company’s former vice president of institutional relations, Claudio Melo Filho, in a plea agreement in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Filho’s statement, leaked to local media on Friday, says that Temer asked businessman Marcelo Odebrecht for 10 million reais in 2014, when he was vice president of the Dilma Rousseff government.
Globo TV reports that during a meeting held at his official residence, Temer requested “direct and personal” financial support from Marcelo Odebrecht for the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) campaigns in 2014.
“Of the total of 10 million reais promised by Marcelo Odebrecht in response to Michel Temer’s request, Eliseu Padilha (Chief Minister of the Civil House) received four million reais,” the statement said.
“I understood that the other six million reais, by decision of Marcelo Odebrecht, would be allocated to Paulo Skaf,” the statement continued.
Skaf is president of the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo – the most powerful employers of the country – and was PMDB candidate for the Sao Paulo government in 2014.
Those named in the statement have strongly denied any links to the irregular payments, starting with Temer who issued a statement vehemently condemning the accusations.
“The donations made by the construction company Odebrecht to PMDB were carried out by bank transfer and declared to the Superior Electoral Court,” Temer said.
The former Odebrecht executive also revealed that nearly one million reais were given to Eduardo Cunha, the former powerful Lower House chairman and main driving force of the impeachment process of Rousseff, now facing corruption charges.
Filho’s statement is one of the first such leaks after a leniency agreement reached by Odebrecht with the Brazilian Justice during the Lava Jato investigation, which has unraveled the biggest corruption case in Brazil’s history.
The company has apologized publicly and has pledged to pay a fine of about 6.8 billion reais over its involvement.