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News > Latin America

Brazil: Police Seek Charges Against President Temer

  • Brazil's President Michel Temer attends the opening ceremony of the National Industry Meeting in Brasilia

    Brazil's President Michel Temer attends the opening ceremony of the National Industry Meeting in Brasilia | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 September 2018

Federal Police say Temer received US$2.41 million in bribes from the national construction company Odebrecht, meaning the Supreme Court could hear his case. 

Brazil's Federal Police have requested charges be brought against President Michel Temer for corruption and money laundering, alleging that his Democratic Party received US$2.41 million in bribes from Odebrecht in 2014.

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The Brazilian construction, Odebrecht, remains at the heart of a regional corruption scandal.

The police claim that Temer engaged in the crimes of passive corruption and money laundering.

This indictment could eventually lead to his suspension from office. Two previous attempts to remove the president on charges of corruption were thwarted by his supporters in parliament.

Odebrecht made the alleged payments in 2014 when Temer was vice president.

Temer's office said in a written statement that the president had committed no wrongdoing and that the funds received from Odebrecht were legal campaign donations.

Brazil's Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge requested in March that Temer be investigated despite the constitutional ban that prohibits him from standing trial while president for crimes committed before he took office.

The police investigation indicated that mines and energy minister Wellington Moreira Franco and Temer's chief of staff Eliseu Padilha were also involved in the alleged embezzlement ring and requested they face corruption charges.

Reuters requests for comment from Moreira Franco and Padilha were not immediately returned.

Under Brazilian law, at the conclusion of an investigation police must request that prosecutors make formal charges, and then it is up to a judge to decide if the charges merit a trial.

Dodge's office did not return after-hours calls seeking comment, and it was not clear if or when she would decide to act on the police requests for corruption charges.

Temer faced previous corruption charges, which Congress blocked in 2017. Under Brazilian law, legislators must approve any charges against a sitting president, who could then only be tried before the Supreme Court.

Once Temer leaves office on Jan. 1, he could still face the charges that Congress blocked and any new charges that may be filed against him while still in office.

The current president took over his post in August 2016 after elected president Dilma Rousseff from the Workers' Party was ousted by several Congress members who were being indicted for taking millions in Odebrecht bribes. 

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