President Michel Temer was charged with corruption by Brazil’s prosecutor general, Rodrigo Janot, late Monday with taking multimillion-dollar bribes. It’s a stinging blow to the unpopular leader and to political stability in Latin America’s largest country.
Temer was accused of taking a $152,000 bribe via an intermediary, an act that, according to the prosecutor general, Rodrigo Janot, “helped to compromise the image of the Federal Republic of Brazil.”
The story achieved a great repercussion in the international news media. The New York Times said: “Coming just days after a poll showed his approval rating at 7 percent — the lowest of any Brazilian president in nearly 30 years — the charge increased pressure on Mr. Temer’s rickety presidency, which has been engulfed in a political crisis since he was secretly recorded seeming to approve efforts to obstruct a corruption investigation during a late-night meeting at his residence in Brasília with Joesley Batista, a wealthy businessman whose family controls a food conglomerate.”
Aljaseera said: “Temer’s latest approval ratings are just seven percent, lower than his deeply unpopular leftist predecessor Dilma Rousseff whom he replaced last year after she was impeached by his centre-right congressional allies for breaking budgetary rules.”
The CNBC explains: “Temer was charged in connection with a graft scheme involving the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS SA. Executives said in plea-bargain testimony the president took nearly $5 million in bribes for resolving tax matters, freeing up loans from state-run banks and other matters.”
Janot submitted the charge in a document presented to the Supreme Court, saying “he fooled Brazilian citizens” and owed the nation millions in compensation for accepting bribes.
Under Brazilian law, the lower house of Congress must now vote on whether to allow the top tribunal to try the conservative leader, who replaced impeached leftist President Dilma Rousseff just over a year ago.
Lawmakers within Temer’s coalition are confident they have the votes to block the two-third majority required to proceed with a trial. But they warn that support may wane if congressmen are forced to vote several times to protect Temer – whose popularity is languishing in the single-digits – from trial.