Brazil's Temer said billionaire influenced appointment of finance minister

Jun 28, 2017, 03:29
Brazil's Temer said billionaire influenced appointment of finance minister

Even if Brazil gives tentative signs of recovery, the popularity rating of Mr Temer is the lowest, with an approval rate of 7%, the worst for a brazilian president since nearly 30 years, according to a survey released on Saturday by Datafolha.

Since taking office, Mr Temer has led a market-friendly government which has tried to implement unpopular labour and pension reforms that, he says, are vital for Brazil's economic recovery.

Brazil's President Michel Temer calls the corruption charges against him a "soap opera" and accuses the country's top lawyer of seeking "revenge".

Here are five key chapters from a tumultuous 14 months culminating with yesterday's filing of bribery charges against him by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot. For the case to go to trial, it requires the backing of two-thirds of the lower house of Congress.

Lawmakers within Temer's coalition are confident they have the votes to block the two-thirds majority required to proceed with a trial. House Speaker Rodrigo Maia, a Temer ally, would be president in the interim.

Equally explosive is the allegation that Temer approved of a plan with Joesley Batista, owner of JBS parent company J&F, to pay hush money to a politician jailed for corruption.

Temer is likely to be accused this week and face charges of official misconduct, criminal organization and obstruction of justice.

Temer was originally vice president to Dilma Rousseff - Brazil's first female president. Batista gave the secretly recorded tape to prosecutors as part of a plea deal.

But if the prosecutor general does bring separate charges against Mr. Temer, each one will have to be voted on separately, said Roberto Dias, a professor of constitutional law at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo.

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Janot's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the president's office did not respond to a request to elaborate.

The charges will now be sent to the Chamber of Deputies to be analyzed by the Lower House.

Janot's 64-page decision was a blistering assessment of Temer and his actions as Brazil's top leader. Executives said in plea-bargain testimony the president took almost $US5 million ($6.5 million) in bribes for resolving tax matters, freeing up loans from state-run banks and other matters.

Temer's comments were his first since returning from a trip to Russian Federation and Norway last week that was filled with gaffes and mounting bad news.

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

Janot said the "spurious scheme" had been going on for a few years and Temer had "middlemen to receive bribes".

Despite the optimism, Temer is facing risks to his mandate on several fronts. The President is under investigation for alleged crimes of passive corruption, obstruction of justice and Illicit association, of which "serious evidence" has been found, it was reported in local media.

As a sitting president, only the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the country's highest court, can try or jail Temer.

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