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    Brazil's President Michel Temer attends a meeting in the Chamber of Deputies at the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, September 13, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 September 2017

The Attorney General says the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in 2016 was an attempt to block the corruption investigations.

The Brazilian President Michel Temer is being charged with obstruction of justice and leading a criminal organization. If the charges are approved by the Lower House of Congress, Temer could be suspended from office for up to six months, while the Supreme Court tries him.


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Temer is accused of taking bribes in return for political favors and conspiring to stifle testimony that would implicate him.

This is the second set of charges that the Attorney General, Rodrigo Janot, has brought against the president, based on the plea-bargain testimony of executives at the world's largest meatpacker, JBS.

In the first of the new charges, Janot accuses Temer of being the leader, since May 2016, of a criminal racket involving four former members of congress from the president's own PMDB party, along with two of his current ministers, Eliseu Padilha and Moreira Franco. 

The members of the alleged scheme are accused of receiving bribes exceeding US$160 million.

The second new charge, of obstructing justice, relates to Temer's alleged encouragement of payments to buy the silence of Eduardo Cunha, the jailed former speaker of the Lower House.

Temer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Last month, the Lower House rejected a prior corruption charge Temer faced, that he took bribes from JBS officials.

And on Tuesday, the Supreme Court authorized an investigation into more separate allegations of corruption against Temer involving a presidential decree relating to Brazil’s ports.

Again, Temer denies any wrongdoing.

In his written presentation of the new charges, Attorney General Janot argued that the impeachment of the former president, Dilma Rousseff, aimed to block the sprawling corruption investigations known in Brazil as the Car Wash. "As the Car Wash Operation moved forward," Janot wrote, "PMDB operators in the Senate, especially Senator Romero Juca, began a series of manuevers to stop it. As these did not work, they sought to begin the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff." 

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Earlier on Thursday, Brazil's federal police raided the home of Temer's Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi after corruption allegations were made against him by the former governor of Mato Grosso state, Silval Barbosa.

Barbosa accused Maggi of accepting a number of bribes in connection with the Petrobras corruption scandal between the years 2007 and 2010, allegedly receiving a total of US$4 million to fund his reelection campaign for governor.

President Temer promised in February that he would suspend any of his ministers who were accused by the Attorney General's Office in connection with the Car Wash corruption investigations. 

So far there is no indication that Temer intends to remove either his agriculture minister, or the two other ministers named by the attorney general in the latest case against the president himself.  

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