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  • Brazil's former President Michel Temer arrives at his home in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 25, 2019.

    Brazil's former President Michel Temer arrives at his home in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 25, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 April 2019

The case is part of Operation 'Car Wash,' Brazil's largest corruption investigation which has put dozens of businessmen and politicians in jail since 2014.

Former Brazilian President Michel Temer was charged with new crimes Tuesday in connection to the ongoing criminal investigation into the “Car Wash” scandal involving bribes in exchange for public contracts.

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Temer, whose presidency ended on Dec. 31 as Jair Bolsonaro was inaugurated Jan. 1, was previously arrested on March 21 and spent four days incarcerated on the order of Judge Breta.

Less than two weeks later Judge Marcelo Bretas accepted two complaints from the prosecution accusing Temer, former minister Wellington Moreira Franco, and 12 other people of benefitting from deviations of money registered in the state-owned company Eletronuclear.

The group led by Temer would have diverted 18 million reais (US$4.67 million) from the construction works of the Angra 3 nuclear power plant in Rio de Janeiro which it would have charged 1.1 million reais (US$285,000), according to the judicial authorities’ complaints.

The Federal Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro requested Monday that Temer and other defendants return to prison in a preventive manner after Judge Ivan Athie decreed his release last week.

In addition, the prosecutor's office of the state of Sao Paulo formalized another accusation against the former leader and his daughter Maristela Temer, accused of having used money illegally diverted from the construction works of the Angra 3 nuclear power plant.

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Ex-Brazilian President Michel Temer Arrested Over Corruption

According to the complaint, Temer paid for his daughter’s house refurbishment in a residential neighborhood of Sao Paulo between 2015 and 2016 with money diverted from the Angra 3 nuclear power plant in Rio de Janeiro.

In addition to Temer and his daughter, Colonel Joao Baptista Lima Filha, an intimate friend of Temer who is considered the financial operator of the group led by the former president, and his wife Maria Rita Fratezi were also denounced for money laundering.

Temer took over the presidency after leftist former president Dilma Rousseff was impeached by the Senate in 2016, a case that her supporters and legal experts argue that it amounted to a parliamentary coup as the accusations against her were related to controversial allocation of public funds, a policy done by most previous administrations. 

The 78-year-old is the second president in Brazil's history to go to prison for a case linked to the Car Wash Operation, a massive investigation charging dozens of politicians and businessmen since 2014 for money laundering and corruption.

The first was Lula da Silva, who is serving a sentence of 12 years and one month over corruption and money laundering, charges that some experts say are a form of “lawfare” (in which legal matters are used for political gains), as it prevented the popular leftist leader from running in the 2018 election. The United Nations Human Rights Committee accepted a petition from Lula’s lawyers to investigate whether his human rights were violated.

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