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Brazil Businessman Testifies: Temer Requested 'Financial Support'

Brazilian interim President Michel Temer can't escape continuing corruption allegations against him and his political cronies. | Photo: Reuters Brazilian interim President Michel Temer can't escape continuing corruption allegations against him and his political cronies. | Photo: Reuters
Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 6, 2016 - Brazil's Interim president Michel Temer was accused of providing illegal payments to members of his government, according to legal documents obtained by Brazilian media outlet Veja.

A report published by Veja on Friday included official plea bargain testimony by Marcelo Odebrecht, a former executive at the Odebrecht construction company, who accuses Temer of soliciting cash payments.

As part of his testimony, Odebrecht alleges that while attending a 2014 state dinner held at the Jaburu Presidential Palace, Temer had requested “financial support” for high-ranking officials within the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB. 

Odebrecht claims that his firm issued cash payments in the months of August and September of that same year, totaling $3.1 million. Odebrecht’s testimony goes on to allege that $1.2 million went to Eliseu Padilha, Temer’s current chief of staff, and the additional $1.8 million was received by Paulo Skaf, president of the influential Sao Paulo industry federation.

According to the legal records, the cash transfer of $3.1 million, was later registered in the Odebrecht accounting department, under a division of the finance wing known as the “kickback department.”

In response to the allegations, Temer told Veja magazine that the dinner had taken place in order to discuss “financial aid towards election campaigns of the PMDB,” but that all the conversations and subsequent actions were “in strict accordance with electoral legislation and was later declared to the Electoral Court."

Meanwhile, Padilha also confirmed the 2014 meeting telling Veja,"I remember that Marcelo Odebrecht was seeking to examine the possibility of providing campaign contributions to the PMDB account, then chaired by President Michel Temer."

However, as part of his statement Padilha goes on to deny having received any financial contribution from Odebrecht.

While Temer and political officials continue to deny any links to the bribery scheme, several senior lawmakers of his party are under investigation for allegedly taking bribes.

Two of them resigned from Temer's cabinet during the first weeks of his government. A third minister also quit after a recording of him criticizing the investigation was leaked to the media. 

Under the terms of his plea bargain, Odebrecht has promised to present evidence of illegal payments to members of Temer's government including 35 senators, 13 governors and dozens of mayors.

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