Brazil's Temer faces new graft charges over JBS testimony

Brazil's chief prosecutor on Thursday charged President Michel Temer with obstruction of justice and leading a criminal group in the biggest climax yet to the country's ever-growing corruption scandal.

Janot also implies that Temer and other PMDB politicians engineered a plan to oust Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency a year ago because of a perceived lack of effort from her government to stop investigations about corruption schemes.

But Temer was widely believed to have enough support in Congress to avoid being forced to face trial.

For Temer to be suspended for up to six months and put on trial, at least two-thirds of the 513 members of the lower Chamber of Deputies have to vote in favor.

The Brazil Supreme Court [official website] authorized another investigation on Tuesday into possible corruption and money laundering by President Michel Temer [BBC profile]. He is appealing the case.

Another was a former minister, Geddel Vieira Lima, who was imprisoned last week after police discovered the equivalent of $16 million in cash stuffed into boxes and suitcases in an apartment he used. The Brazil-based company has admitted to doling out $150 million in bribes to some 2,000 politicians over a decade.

Joesley and Wesley Batista then entered into a plea deal with investigators, which offered them immunity from prosecution in exchange for information about their company's bribery scheme.

In the case at hand Wednesday, the former president is accused of corruption for allegedly accepting an arrangement in which construction giant Odebrecht would buy a piece of land that was supposed to be the site of new headquarters for Silva's Instituto Lula. The Batistas later repurchased the shares at a significantly lower price, prosecutors allege.

The deal would give them immunity from prosecution in the graft probe, which nearly sunk Temer's government.

Brazil Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin ordered on Sunday the arrest of billionaire Joesley Batista, one of the owners of the world´s largest meatpackers, JBS SA, and one of his executives, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Vanessa Coleman

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