Te­mer and aide for­mally charged with graft

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

BRAZIL’S Attorney-Gen­eral Ro­drigo Janot for­mally ac­cused President Michel Te­mer and his aide Ro­drigo Rocha Loures of cor­rup­tion on Mon­day, charg­ing them with re­ceiv­ing bribes from meat­pack­ing gi­ant JBS, ac­cord­ing to O Globo.

Janot sent the re­quest for charges, with ad­di­tional doc­u­ments due to fol­low yes­ter­day, to the coun­try’s Supreme Court, which will then send them to the lower cham­ber of Congress.

By law, crim­i­nal charges against a sit­ting president have to be ap­proved by two-thirds of the lower house and only then can the Supreme Court is­sue a con­vic­tion. If ap­proved by the lower house, Te­mer could be sus­pended for 90 days while await­ing im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings.

In that case, House Speaker Ro­drigo Maia would as­sume the pres­i­dency. Ac­cord­ing to a poll by Es­tadao, Te­mer may not have the sup­port of law­mak­ers to block the process.

Mean­while, Brazil’s fed­eral po­lice rec­om­mended charg­ing Te­mer with ob­struc­tion of jus­tice on Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial re­port.

Te­mer faces sev­eral ac­cu­sa­tions of cor­rup­tion and spy­ing, and re­ports said Janot would con­sider treat­ing each in­ves­ti­ga­tion sep­a­rately in­stead of pre­sent­ing them all to­gether, a move that could weaken Te­mer’s de­fence strategy.

The em­bat­tled politi­cian, who was one of the main ar­chi­tects of a sim­i­lar pro­ce­dure against for­mer president Dilma Rouss­eff, has been marred by po­lit­i­cal scan­dals re­volv­ing around Op­er­a­tion Car Wash, or Lava Jato, in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Last month, a wire­tapped con­ver­sa­tion with businessman Josley Batista, chair­man of JBS, the largest meat­pack­ing com­pany in the coun­try, was re­leased which ap­peared to re­veal Te­mer en­dors­ing a bribe to po­ten­tial wit­nesses in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In the record­ing, Te­mer was heard say­ing after be­ing in­formed that hush money was be­ing paid to the for­mer head of the lower house of Congress, Ed­uardo Cunha: “Look, you’ve got to keep that up”.

Last week, Brazil­ian fed­eral po­lice handed over their in­ves­ti­ga­tion to the court al­leg­ing that Te­mer ac­cepted bribes in ex­change for po­lit­i­cal favours from JBS. Po­lice have also con­firmed the au­then­tic­ity of the record­ings. teleSUR

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