Brazil president: corruption charge a 'fiction'

by Garry Watts June 28, 2017, 1:40
Brazil president: corruption charge a 'fiction'

If it does, Temer could be suspended from office while the case is tried.

"If Temer resigns this week, he could be in jail next week", said Santoro.

Temer was charged in connection with a graft scheme involving the world's largest meatpacker, JBS SA.

Prosecutors claim Mr Temer "fooled Brazilian citizens" by receiving money from a meat packing firm in exchange for resolving tax matters and freeing up loans from state-run banks.

Even for Brazilians virtually inured to revelations of corruption among their politicians, the accusations against Temer were shocking: For one thing, the crimes the president is accused of happened just this year, three years into the country's largest ever corruption investigation. Janot charged Temer on Monday with accepting bribes.

There's significant skepticism that such a strong majority will take shape among this current crop of lawmakers, many of whom count themselves allies of the president despite his abysmal approval rating among voters - which, according to a recent poll cited by multiple media outlets, hovers in the single digits.

The head of the commission, deputy Rodrigo Pacheco of Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, will pick a rapporteur who will have up to seven sessions to finish his report.

Notwithstanding the criticism to the plea bargain, 83% of the people believe that the direct involvement of President Michel Temer (PMDB) in the corruption scandals that surfaced with the plea bargain is confirmed.

Meanwhile, the obstruction of justice investigation accuses Temer of approving a plan with Joesley Batista, owner of JBS parent company J&F, to pay hush money to a politician jailed for corruption.

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Janot also concludes that Rocha Loures and Temer clearly worked together to receive bribes.

Financial markets regard the measures, which include an unpopular overhaul of Brazil's generous pension system, as crucial to restoring the country's battered fiscal credibility. This could mean a separate charge against the president. Some key members of Temer's coalition say they will stop work on labor reforms if they are required to vote on charges against the president.

Janot's investigation into Temer was looking into corruption, obstruction of justice and being part of a criminal organization.

Janot's 64-page decision was a blistering assessment of Temer and his actions as Brazil's top leader.

Janot said Temer may have received as much as $12 million in bribes over the past nine months.

The president's office did not respond to a request to elaborate.

Earlier Monday, Temer sought to show that his government was conducting business as usual, defiantly saying he wasn't going anywhere in his first comments since returning from a trip to Russian Federation and Norway last week.

"Nothing we will destroy neither I, nor my ministers", he said during a speech at the Palace of Planalto.

"There is no plan B", he said at a ceremony to sign a new bill in the capital Brasilia.

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