Brazil's President says corruption charge is 'fiction'

by Sophie Craig June 28, 2017, 3:31
Brazil's President says corruption charge is 'fiction'

Janot charged Temer on Monday with accepting bribes.

Rodrigo Janot brought the charges before the Supreme Court and now has to wait for the lower house of Congress to vote on whether Temer will be tried by the tribunal.

The top federal prosecutor in Brazil, Rodrigo Janot, filed corruption charges against President Michel Temer with the country's Supreme Court (STF) on Monday.

On May 17, a recording of Temer supposedly discussing the payment of hush money to the jailed Cunha emerged. In this case, Mr. Temer would be removed from power for a term which may extend to 180 days.

A third of Temer's cabinet and dozens of members of congress are being investigated for corruption. He could file those charges at a later date, guaranteeing a sustained legal assault.

"I know what I did", Temer said following the release of the tapes.

In his first comments since returning from a trip to Russian Federation and Norway, the president was defiant.

"Nothing we will destroy neither I, nor my ministers", he said during a speech at the Palace of Planalto. If the two thirds are not reached, the charge would be suspended until the end of Temer's term, which is December 31, 2018.

However, lawmakers plan to block the two-thirds majority needed to hold a trial in support of the conservative president. Temer's office and his attorney, Antonio Mariz, declined to comment on the charges.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has been charged with accepting about $150,000 in bribes from a former chairman of global meatpacking giant JBS SA, whose US division is based in Greeley.

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The son of Lebanese immigrants with a fancy for writing poetry, Mr Temer promised stability and economic austerity reforms to push Brazil out of its worst recession in history.

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. But with each new charge, the Chamber of Deputies must vote anew, and many foresee Temer's support eroding each time lawmakers are forced to publicly defend him - particularly with their own nationwide elections approaching next year, Reuters notes.

For more than three years, investigators in Brazil have uncovered stunning levels of corruption enveloping the political class and business elites. The prosecutor is widely expected to charge Temer with further crimes, including obstruction of justice.

A long simmering scandal could also have the potential to stir up public anger in the streets.

Temer now formally accused of accepting bribes that, in total, could amount to 38 million reais ($11.5 million).

He accused Janot of seeking "revenge, destruction and vengeance" with the indictment. He has vehemently denied all of the accusations against him, and has often pointed out that Mr. Batista received a plea bargain in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors. House Speaker Rodrigo Maia, an ally of Temer, would then be president in the interim.

Brazil's current president helped lead efforts to get the last one impeached, but now he's facing corruption charges of his own.

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