Brazil federal police accuse president of getting bribes

Brazil's President Michel Temer attends the launch of the new financing line of Bank Caixa Economica Federal at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil November 24, 2016.

Temer's push for economic austerity measures and reforms got a setback in Congress on Tuesday when a Senate committee rejected his proposal to loosen Brazil's labor laws.

Jaime Gesisky of the WWF said Mr Temer's position has not changed.

The federal police report noted Temer has refused to answer investigators' questions in the case.

But Temer's coolness in taking a foreign trip in the midst of his domestic crisis isn't just bravado.

Batista said the payments were necessary because the group had control over offices that were crucial to JBS' operations, including agencies linked to the Agriculture Ministry.

When attorney general Rodrigo Janot called for the opening of an investigation, he stated that the recordings established that president Temer approved of giving hush money to former congressman Eduardo Cunha and intermediary Lúcio Funaro, both of whom are in jail.

The investigation of Temer is based on testimony from suspects in a meat-packing scandal, who have admitted their company, JBS, paid government officials, including Temer, to overlook their violations of health and safety standards.

Federal police have requested more time to continue their investigation into the allegations against Temer.

In a report the Federal Supreme Court said Temer - who was away in Russian Federation - benefited from bribe funds, even if he did so using someone else to collect or deposit the bribes.

Temer "is the head of the criminal organisation that operates in the Chamber (of Deputies)", Brazil's lower house of Congress, Joesley Batista, one of the owners of multinational meatpacking giant JBS, said in the interview on Saturday. Only then can the Supreme Court try a leader.

Aides and lawmakers close to Temer have also told Reuters that if more evidence of corruption emerges against the leader, it would make it increasingly hard for him to maintain his unwieldy government coalition.

The president is being investigated for three alleged crimes: corruption, obstruction of justice and being member of a criminal organization.

"Faced with silence from the president and his former assistant, there is irrefutable evidence. showing strongly that passive corruption (on Temer's part) took place", the report said.

  • Leroy Wright