Brazil’s President Michel Temer charged with taking millions in bribe

BRASILIA – Brazilian President Michel Temer has been charged with accepting bribes by the country’s chief prosecutor.

Rodrigo Janot submitted the charge to the supreme court, saying 67-year-old Temer “fooled Brazilian citizens”.

Temer is accused of receiving money from the boss of a giant meatpacking firm implicated in a corruption scandal. This followed the release of an audio recording in which he allegedly discussed $11.475m (£9 million) in bribes with Joesley Batista, chairman of the JBS meat company.

Mr. Temer denies any wrongdoing.

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The charges have been delivered to a Supreme Court judge who must now decide if the case can be sent to the lower house of parliament.

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 Dilma Rousseff just over a year ago when she was impeached.

Lawmakers within Temer’s coalition are confident they have the votes to block the two-thirds majority required to proceed with a trial.

Temer’s office and his attorney, Antonio Mariz, declined to comment on the charges.

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Temer and a third of his cabinet, as well as four former presidents and dozens of lawmakers, are under investigation or have already been charged over the schemes. More than 90 people have been convicted.

The president is deeply unpopular in Brazil but his centre-right party has been able to govern as part of a coalition.

Opposition parties have been demanding snap elections and his impeachment.

His predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was removed from office following an impeachment vote in the Senate. She was accused of illegally manipulating the budget, a charge she strongly denied.