BRASILIA – Police forcibly entered and searched the offices in Congress of lawmaker Lucio Vieira Lima on Monday in an attempt to track the movement of several million dollars found in an apartment used by a former minister of Brazilian President Michel Temer.
The legislator is a member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), led by Temer himself, and the brother of Geddel Vieira Lima, a former minister arrested last month after 51 million reais ($16.3 million) were found in an apartment, which he said was “lent” him by a friend.
In the unfurnished apartment there was only the vast amount of cash stored in large boxes and suitcases, and though its origin has not yet been established, it is suspected to have come from payoffs for corruption.
The offices of the PMDB lawmaker were raided just before a congressional commission was to start debating charges formulated by the Attorney General’s Office against Temer, whom it accuses of obstruction of justice and unlawful association.
The matter will be discussed starting Tuesday by the Constitution and Justice Commission in the lower house.
The charges are supported by confessions made by owners of the JBS group, who have said they bribed Temer at least since 2010 in exchange for “political favors,” and by the testimonies of people associated with the PMDB.
The process will then continue in a plenary session of the lower house, whose endorsement, according to the constitution, is required to open any proposed criminal trial against the president.
Last August, the plenary session of legislators tossed out the first criminal charges brought by the AG’s office against Temer, who in that case was accused of passive corruption, also based on testimonies of the JBS owners.