Brazil’s top court ap­proves new graft probe of Pres­i­dent Te­mer

Stabroek News - - WORLD NEWS -

BRASILIA, (Reuters) - A Brazil­ian Supreme Court judge yes­ter­day au­tho­rized an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer for sus­pected cor­rup­tion in­volv­ing a de­cree reg­u­lat­ing ports, adding to graft al­le­ga­tions the pres­i­dent has so far par­ried with back­ing from Congress.

The new in­ves­ti­ga­tion is based on a wire­tapped con­ver­sa­tion of a for­mer Te­mer aide, Ro­drigo Rocha Loures, who, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, dis­cussed shap­ing the de­cree in re­turn for bribes chan­neled from a port op­er­a­tor to the pres­i­dent.

In his rul­ing, Justice Luis Roberto Bar­roso said the new probe was war­ranted be­cause Brazil’s top prose­cu­tor, Ro­drigo Janot, had found “strong in­di­ca­tions” of crimes, given that the de­cree signed by Te­mer an­swered part of the de­mands made by lo­gis­tics firm Ro­dri­mar SA.

Te­mer’s lawyer said in a state­ment sent to the Supreme Court that the al­le­ga­tions against the pres­i­dent are “con­tam­i­nated by un­truths and ma­li­cious dis­tor­tions.”

The de­cree was pub­licly de­bated and ben­e­fited all port op­er­a­tors and not just Ro­dri­mar, it said.

Ro­dri­mar also de­nied that it had re­ceived any spe­cial treat­ment from the govern­ment. The com­pany said the de­cree in ques­tion par­tially ad­dressed wide­spread de­mands from Brazil’s port op­er­a­tors.

Te­mer has de­nied any role in the cor­rup­tion scan­dals that have come to light dur­ing a sprawl­ing three-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion of po­lit­i­cal bribery in Brazil.

His lawyers have also chal­lenge the plea bar­gain deal that yielded the wire­tap of Rocha Loures, ar­gu­ing that the bil­lion­aire beef ty­coon who ar­ranged the record­ings was un­fairly fa­vored by a close aide to Janot.

Last month, Te­mer’s al­lies in Congress eas­ily blocked a cor­rup­tion charge lev­eled by Janot. He is also ex­pected to beat ad­di­tional charges that Janot could level this week be­fore leav­ing of­fice. The lat­est in­ves­ti­ga­tion ap­proved by the court adds more al­le­ga­tions to the mix.

Brazil’s cur­rency, the real, posted its big­gest daily drop in nearly a month, slip­ping 0.8 per­cent against the U.S. dol­lar as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a sep­a­rate po­lice probe into Te­mer’s al­lies kept pres­sure on the pres­i­dent.

Te­mer’s suc­cess in beat­ing back ac­cu­sa­tions had bol­stered bets that he would be able to re­turn fo­cus to his mar­ket-friendly pro­pos­als to over­haul Brazil’s tax and so­cial se­cu­rity poli­cies, tack­ling a record deficit.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.