Brazil's President charged with taking bribes from meat processor
Brazil's top federal prosecutor charged President Michel Temer with taking multimillion-dollar bribes on Monday in a stinging blow to the unpopular leader and to political stability in Latin America's largest country.
Rodrigo Janot submitted the charge in a document presented to the Supreme Court, saying "he fooled Brazilian citizens" and owed the nation millions in compensation for accepting bribes.
Under Brazilian law, the lower house of Congress must now vote on whether to allow the top tribunal to try the conservative leader, who replaced impeached leftist President Dilma Rousseff just over a year ago.
Lawmakers within Temer's coalition are confident they have the votes to block the two-third majority required to proceed with a trial. But they warn that support may wane if congressmen are forced to vote several times to protect Temer - whose popularity is languishing in the single-digits - from trial.
Temer's office and his attorney, Antonio Mariz, declined to comment on the charges. Temer has repeatedly said he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
Investigators have uncovered stunning levels of corruption in recent years engulfing Brazil's political class and business elites. Much of it centers on companies paying billions of dollars in bribes to politicians and executives at state-run enterprises in return for lucrative contracts.
Temer and one-third of his cabinet, as well as four former presidents and dozens of lawmakers are under investigation or already charged in the schemes. Over 90 people have been convicted.
Political analysts had warned, long before Monday, that the scandals reduced the chances Temer could push through reforms crucial for Latin America's biggest economy to rebound from its worst recession on record.