Brazil’s Attorney General accused President Michel Temer of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from the world’s largest meatpacking company, JBS. The company’s executives testified to police that the president took money in exchange for facilitating tax breaks and loans from state banks.
Temer is in trouble with senator Renan Calheiros who says government ‘discredited’. But Brazil’s president could be saved of charges to corruption by much politicians also under suspicion.
The charges are the latest blow to the unpopular president, whose administration is hanging on by a thread after secret recordings emerged last month that appeared to show him endorsing bribery in a conversation with the meatpacking company’s CEO. Prosecutors accuse Temer of orchestrating an $11.5 billion bribe scheme with JBS over the past nine months.
Brazil’s lower house, packed with congressional members facing their own corruption probes, must now decide whether to green-light the president’s trial before the Supreme Court. If they vote to send him to trial, Temer will be placed on a six-month leave, and the speaker of the house, Rodrigo Maia — himself under investigation — will take over as interim president.
Despite pressure from his allies, he publicly supported Operation Car Wash, a sprawling corruption probe that threatened his base in Congress. But less than a year into his term, Temer finds himself at the heart of the investigation and at the mercy of some of these very congressional members.
While Temer’s allies say he can muster the 172 votes needed to block the trial from going forward, his base may crack as new accusations emerge. The chief prosecutor is expected to charge Temer with separate counts of obstruction of justice and organized crime activity in the coming weeks.
By that point, the congressional members, who face elections next year, may bow to mounting public pressure to oust Temer. His approval ratings hover at 7 percent, a record low for a Brazilian president.