Brazil’s national President Michel Temer has rejected accusations made in plea-bargain testimony that he was party to a $40m bribe, according to Reuters.
The charge is made by a former vice president of Brazilian engineering and construction giant Odebrecht in relation to the widespread and devastating corruption probe centred on state oil firm Petrobras, which has vast offshore drilling interests.
Marcio Faria da Silva, the former Odebrecht official, claims in testimony that Temer, who was president of the Chamber of Deputies at the time, was present when Odebrecht was asked to donate the amount to Temer’s Brazilian Democratic Movement political party.
Odebrecht is the most prominent company caught up in the scheme whereby bribes were paid for inflated contracts with Petrobras.
It has engulfed numerous officials at Petrobras and contractors plus politicians who were paid to turn blind eyes or to grease the wheels of graft.
Dozens of Odebrecht officials have made plea deals after being caught in the probe’s net.
In responding, President Temer acknowledged that a meeting took place in 2010 but denied that a bribe was discussed.
He took office in August 2016 after predecessor Dilma Rousseff was impeached over indiscretions not connected to the Petrobras affair.
As president, Temer has temporary immunity from any infractions that happened before he took power.