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  HOME | Brazil (Click here for more)

Brazil’s President Accused of Obstructing Corruption Probe

BRASILIA – President Michel Temer tried to “obstruct investigations” into corruption, the Brazilian Federal Police said Monday in a report to the country’s Supreme Court.

The document, which was obtained by several media outlets, follows another brief submitted by the police last week accusing Temer of benefiting from active involvement in corruption.

The high court set a deadline of Tuesday for federal prosecutors to decide whether to indict the head of state on allegations that he encouraged the payment of hush money to a political ally already convicted of graft in connection with a $2 billion scandal centered on state oil company Petrobras.

Those charges were leveled by brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista, owners of JBS, the world’s largest meatpacking company.

As part of a plea deal, the JBS owners handed prosecutors a secretly taped audio recording in which Temer appeared to say that bribes needed to continue to flow to former lower-house speaker Eduardo Cunha.

The Batista brothers also said that they had been paying off Temer and his political allies since 2010.

Cunha spearheaded the effort that led last year to the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff via impeachment.

Temer, who served as Rousseff’s vice president from 2011 to 2016, turned against his boss, supported the impeachment process and eventually succeeded her in office.

If prosecutors proceed against Temer, the Supreme Court will review the proposed indictment before passing it to Congress, which has the final say over criminal prosecution of a sitting president.

Approval to put Temer in the dock would require a two-thirds majority of the lower house.

Were Congress to allow the prosecution, Temer would be suspended for six months and lower house speaker Rodrigo Maia would be named interim president.

In the event Temer were convicted, Congress would choose a successor to serve out the balance of the presidential term that ends Jan. 1, 2019.

 

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