Brazil corruption scandal reaches top of government

Brazilian President Michel Temer suffered another loss this week when a top aide resigned after being implicated in the Petrobras corruption scandal.

Temer’s special adviser José Yunes was named as being involved in graft in plea statements by executives of Brazil’s biggest contractor, Odebrecht, which has signed a leniency deal with prosecutors.

As part of that deal Odebrecht executives and employees are now drafting plea statements that detail how contracts were awarded in return for cash.

These statements are being leaked to media, and implicate as many as 200 politicians reaching to the top of Brazil’s current government, including Michel Temer himself, Reuters reports.

Already Temer has lost four of his cabinet ministers to graft allegations in the six months since he took over as president in May from Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached on 31 August.

A close friend of the president, special adviser José Yunes denied any wrongdoing when he stepped down on 14 December.

"In the last few days, Mr President, I have seen my name dragged through the mud," Yunes wrote in a resignation letter to President Temer, published in newspaper Valor Economico, reports The Financial Times. "I repudiate with all of the force of my dignity this ignominious [story]."

Another top aide to Temer was also implicated this week: the infrastructure investment secretary Wellington Moreira Franco, but he did not resign.

According to Reuters Franco was named in a plea bargain statement given by Odebrecht’s former government affairs director Claudio Melo Filho as having received illegal campaign funds for the party.

Melo Filho claimed that Michel Temer himself asked Odebrecht for $3m in political contributions for the 2014 election campaign.

In March this year Marcelo Odebrecht, the former chief executive of the firm, was convicted of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to more than 19 years in prison.

Photograph: Before the resignations: Michel Temer, centre, chairs his first cabinet meeting while acting president of Brazil in May 2016. Since then, four ministers have resigned amid corruption allegations (José Cruz/Agência Brasil/Creative Commons)

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  1. If only 1% of all the allegatios publicized about Michel Temer are correct, how is it possible that he can fulfill the postion as “president of Brasil”? Impeached president Dilma Rousseff has mismanaged the country its funds, which is inexcusable but it has yet to be determined a “criminal offence”. How is it possible that Michel Tremer made it into to office in the first place?

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