Brazil’s President Michel Temer on Friday was implicated in the Petrobras scandal in leaked testimony from executives of the Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht, which claimed Temer had received $3m in illicit payments, according to Veja.
The Petrobras scandal has rocked Brazilian society and politics with its revelations of a gigantic graft scheme involving the state oil company, which has huge offshore drilling interests.
Massive bribes were paid to Petrobras officials by contractor companies in return for inflated contracts. Kickbacks were also paid to politicians for turning blind eyes or greasing the wheels of the fraud.
Conservative estimates say Petrobras lost at least $2bn in the bad contracts. Politicians as senior as former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have been accused.
Now it is President Temer’s turn.
With Odebrecht already convicted of its role as a briber, the company’s officials have been making deals with authorities in return for testimony.
One of them, Odebrecht’s former Institutional Relations director Claudio Nieto Filho, says in leaked testimony that Temer asked Odebrecht founder Marcelo Odebrecht for the $3m amount as a donation to his PMDB political party. And it was paid, Nieto Filho said.
Temer has always denied any involvement in the scandal. Marcelo Odebrecht is serving a 20-year sentence for his role in the Petrobras scheme.
Odebrecht executives’ testimony could implicate as many as 200 politicians, the Veja report says.
Temer replaced Dilma Rousseff as head of state after Rousseff was ousted in late August by an impeachment vote over charges that she manipulated economic data, a matter not related to the Petrobras corruption.