BRASILIA – A judge of the Supreme Court of Brazil authorized on Monday the lifting of the bank secrecy on the accounts of President Michel Temer during an investigation into an alleged corruption case involving the regulation of the country’s ports.
The authorities are investigating whether Temer’s decree, which introduced changes to port regulations, benefited the company Rodrimar in exchange for bribes paid to his party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB).
Judge Luis Roberto Barroso also recently authorized that this bribery probe be extended for two more months, after it was launched in September 2017.
Temer, for his part, said in a statement that he will request from the Central Bank his bank account statements of the period between 2013-2017, as demanded by the Supreme Court, according to local media.
In addition, the president said he “will give the press full access to these documents” and stressed that he has “no concern” in relation to the information in his bank accounts.
Temer already submitted written answers to the 50 questions asked by the Federal Police in relation to this case, on Jan. 18.
However, Judge Barroso’s decision is contrary to the opinion of the current Attorney General, Raquel Dodge, who called for the lifting of bank secrecy only for some of those under investigation, which did not include Temer because allegedly there was no justification.
The case is based on statements made to the authorities by Joesley Batista, one of the owners of the JBS group, among other executives of the company who signed a collaboration agreement with the Brazilian Justice in which they implicated hundreds of Brazilian politicians from all ranks.
These testimonies also helped the Attorney General’s Office to file a first complaint in 2017 for passive corruption and a second for judicial obstruction and unlawful association against Temer, who became the first head of state in the country’s history to be charged with a criminal offence whilst in power.
However, the charges were dropped by Congress which, by constitutional imperative, has the prerogative whether to authorize the opening of a criminal proceeding against a president in office.