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  • Geddel Vieira Lima (L), President Michel Temer, President of the Lower House Rodrigo Maia and President of the Senate Renan Calheiros

    Geddel Vieira Lima (L), President Michel Temer, President of the Lower House Rodrigo Maia and President of the Senate Renan Calheiros | Photo: Presidency of Brazil

Published 17 January 2017

Michel Temer now has to deal with his closest collaborators allegedly involved in corruption scandals.

Brazilian President Michel Temer's former chief of Cabinet and the vice president of the Federal Savings Bank are under investigation for allegedly participating in a bribery scheme in Brazil.

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Temer personally named Roberto Derzie as vice president of Federal Savings Bank, also referred to as Caixa — the country's second largest state-owned financial institution — in December.

Derzie is suspected to be linked to a bribery network connected to the bank. Temer's forrmer Cabinet chief, Geddel Vieira Lima, who resigned from his position in November, could also be involved in the scandal.

Derzie had been fired by former President Dilma Rousseff — ousted last year in a move widely condemned as a parliamentary coup — and hired back again as head of Caixa last month by Temer.

A report by the attorney general’s office alleged that Vieira is part of a bribery scheme involving about US$16 million given by Caixa to several companies.

The police investigation, referred to as “Cui Bono,” targets public officials who charged bribes to "manage" credit and accounts at the bank.

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According to prosecutors, the scheme was set up by a group linked to Geddel Vieira together with the former head of the lower house of Congress and central mastermind behind Rousseff's ouster, Eduardo Cunha, who is currently in jail for corruption. The officials reportedly offered credit for up to US$35 million, keeping 10 percent of the total amount. Derzie would act as a “facilitator,” according to prosecutors.

When asked about the repeated and massive scandals swirling him and other politicians close to him, President Temer said in recent interview with Reuters that his biggest worry is not the graft probe.

Temer said there was "zero" chance of him being toppled by the corruption investigation, which alleges Temer and other allies were part of the largest corruption scandal in Brazil. The country's main corruption probe, known as Operation Car Wash, has linked dozens of politicians and business officials to a bribery scheme in the state-run oil company, Petrobras.

"We are not concerned at all," said Temer. "There isn't the slightest chance of that."

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