Brazil's president charged with corruption

Trevor Jackson
June 28, 2017

Temer officially took office less than one year ago, after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached on charges that she illegally manipulated government budgets. "Nothing will destroy us, neither myself nor my ministers", he said during a ceremony at the Palacio do Planalto, the seat of the Brazilian government.

In a further sign of Temer's weakening position, an important figure in his ruling coalition, former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, called for him to step down and help Brazil hold new elections.

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.

Brazil's President Temer has been charged with receiving a bribe of United States dollars 150,000 from JBS meatpacking executives.

Supporters within Temer's coalition are confident they have enough votes to block the two-third majority required to proceed with a trial. As a sitting president, only the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the country's highest court, can try or jail Temer.

Temer came to power a year ago after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached by her center-right rivals for violating budget laws, in what her leftist allies dubbed a coup. The document is blistering in its assessment of Temer, saying he showed a total disregard for his office and that his actions - including secret meetings not on his official calendar - showed he was trying to cover up "criminal actions".

One third of his cabinet is under investigation and four former presidents plus dozens of politicians.

A customer watches a televised brief statement by Brazil's President Michel Temer at a snack bar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

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But Janot's decision to separate the charges, filing them piecemeal, could drag out the crisis and weaken Temer's base, making congressional approval for a trial more likely.

The president allegedly already accepted 500,000 reals (US$ 152,000) from JBS South America via an intermediary, according to charges filed by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot, The New York Times reported.

Carlos Melo, a political scientist with Insper, a Sao Paulo business school, said Janot knew he would lose the first corruption charge against Temer "but he is like a chess player, thinking two or three votes down the line".

Allies of Temer have been torn between whether to continue supporting the beleaguered leader or bail on him because of fears that association could be toxic during elections next year.

A visit by Mr. Temer to Russian Federation and Norway last week, meant to distract from his problems at home, seemed to make them worse.

On Monday, Temer released his latest statement on the on-going investigation during his first address after his return from Norway and Russian Federation.

The Eurasia Group risk consultancy said there was a 70 percent chance of Temer lasting to the end of his term through 2018.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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