3 men in line for Brazilian presidency accused of corruption

2016-08-31 18:02
Michel Temer. (Evaristo Sa, AFP)

Michel Temer. (Evaristo Sa, AFP)

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Brasilia — Impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff have put a spotlight on corruption among Brazil's lawmakers. Watchdog groups say about 60% of the 594 legislators in both chambers of Congress are being investigated for wrongdoing or already face corruption charges, including the three men in line to replace Rousseff if she is removed from office.

Vice President Michel Temer

In a plea bargain, a former senator who had been a director of state-run oil company Transpetro made a direct link between Temer and the big corruption scandal centred on the main government oil company, Petrobras.

Sergio Machado said Temer asked him to channel $400 000 in Petrobras kickbacks to the 2012 Sao Paulo mayoral candidate of Temer's party. Machado said the payments were made in the form of campaign donations by the construction firm Queiroz Galvao. Temer denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.

Another former senator turned state's witness accused Temer of appointing a lobbyist to distribute bribes from 1997 to 2001 in ethanol deals involving Petrobras. He denies wrongdoing.

Temer is banned from running for office the next eight years because Sao Paulo's electoral court found him guilty of violating campaign spending laws in 2014.

Speaker of the lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia

A key aide to a governor convicted of taking part in a corruption scheme involving overpriced contracts to many companies said Maia received illegal campaign donations. The probe goes to back 2010.

Maia denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.

Senate President Renan Calheiros

Calheiros would be acting president if Temer and Maia travelled outside Brazil. The country's Supreme Federal Tribunal has several open investigations against Calheiros in the Petrobras probe.

Former senator and Transpetro boss Sergio Machado said Calheiros received almost $10m in bribes over 10 years.

A former Petrobras director accused Calheiros of threatening to withhold support unless he was paid off. The same ex-director said Calheiros was paid $1.7m through a Petrobras lobbyist in a case related to drill ship contracts.

Calheiros denies wrongdoing.

Read more on:    petrobas  |  dilma rousseff  |  michel temer  |  brazil

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