Brazil

Brazil: Corruption investigation net closes on president

Michel Temer’s cabinet chief steps aside on ‘health grounds’ after illicit fundraising claim

Brazil’s president Michel Temer, who has lost a minister month, most in controversial circumstances, since he was sworn in in May last year. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images
Brazil’s president Michel Temer, who has lost a minister month, most in controversial circumstances, since he was sworn in in May last year. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil’s president Michel Temer was dragged deeper into the Petrobras corruption scandal after one of his closest friends told prosecutors he acted as an “involuntary mule” in an alleged illicit campaign financing scheme.

José Yunes admitted to the country’s chief federal prosecutor that he had received a package from a black market financier at the request of another of the president’s allies, cabinet chief Eliseu Padilha. The money was sent by an executive of Petrobras’ biggest contractor, construction giant Odebrecht.

After the revelation that Mr Yunes had talked to prosecutors, Mr Padilha announced on Friday that he would take a medical leave of absence. An ally of the president for decades and his most influential minister, Mr Padilha stepped aside claiming that he required an operation on his prostate.

Mr Yunes’s testimony reinforces the plea-bargain testimony provided by Odebrecht executive Claudio Melo Filho in…

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