Brazil's Temer urges business as usual after massive bribery probe

Brazil's Temer urges business as usual after massive bribery probe”

The investigations relate to allegations that Brazil's biggest construction group Odebrecht paid off politicians of all colours in return for assisting it with securing government contracts and favourable legislative changes.

Supreme Court Justice Luiz Edson Fachin on Tuesday passed to lower courts six investigations into the veteran leftist politician based on testimony from former Odebrecht executives.

Mr Temer's office declined to comment.

Brazil's President Michel Temer, right, speaks with his Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio, right, during a ceremony at the Planalto presidential palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

The investigations into almost a third of President Temer's cabinet pose a threat to his efforts to pass austerity reforms that he says are needed to lift the economy out of recession.

On Monday, it was announced that Marcelo Odebrecht, the construction company involved in the corruption scandal's lead executive, told the court that he paid Lula 13 million reais (about United States $4.15 million).

The probes threaten several of Temer's closest confidants, including chief of staff Eliseu Padilha, who has played a key role in pushing unpopular austerity measures through Congress.

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Mr Lula da Silva and Ms Rousseff will face Sérgio Moro, the tough judge in the southern city of Curitiba who has led the Car Wash court hearings.

Eight ministers of President Michel Temer's administration, three state governors, 24 out of the 81 senators and 42 federal House representatives are in the list of people to be investigated, including the head of Senate Eunicio Oliveira and the head of the House Rodrigo Maia, both in line for presidency in case the office becomes vacant.

Temer has vowed to suspend ministers who are charged and dismiss them if indicted. The firm has admitted paying nearly a billion euros in bribes to win lucrative deals.

A Supreme Court judge's bombshell decision has numerous Brazil's top political figures running for cover, the daily Correio Braziliense reports.

Arrested and condemned to a 15-year prison sentence, the former head of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha -who to blackmail the Workers' Party (PT) he started the process of political trial against the constitutional president-, the mandate of Fachin reaches now another two active participants of the coupist blow.

Temer's ministers of foreign affairs, trade and agriculture also are under investigation, as well as former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Dilma Rousseff, in addition to Lula. Other politicians also insisted they were innocent and discredited the testimonies.

Former presidential candidate and likely contender for the 2018 elections, Senator Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) also will be investigated, the daily reported.

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