Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil President Temer drawn into Petrobras bribery scandal

Brazil's acting President Michel Temer in Brasilia, Brazil, May 12, 2016, Image copyright AP
Image caption Michel Temer has denied the allegations

Brazilian interim President Michel Temer has been drawn into the bribery scandal at state oil company Petrobras.

The latest allegations were made by a former Petrobras executive, Sergio Machado, who has been giving plea bargain evidence to prosecutors.

He said Mr Temer, among others, had asked him for illegal campaign contributions for a political ally.

Mr Temer has denied doing so. Reuters quoted his office as saying he had always observed campaign finance laws.

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Mr Machado, who is himself accused of corruption, said Mr Temer had requested a donation of about $440,000 (£309,000) for his PMDB party candidate's campaign in the mayoral elections in Sao Paulo in 2012.

Brazilian media cautious over allegations

The allegations against interim President Temer are being treated with some caution in the Brazilian press.

Many outlets are focusing on the scale of accusations by whistleblower Sergio Machado, and not on President Temer himself.

The headline of right-leaning news outlet G1 (Globo) reads: "Sergio Machado says he handed over bribes to more than 20 politicians."

Mr Temer's name is not mentioned until the fifth paragraph.

Centre-right daily Correio Braziliense highlights the fact that eight political parties are implicated, but that Mr Temer's PMDB party "leads the ranking in bribery".

Centre-left news portal Carta Capital is one of the few outlets to focus on the interim president's alleged involvement.

They quote Mr Machado's claim that Mr Temer was aware that campaign contributions were "illicit".

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Mr Machado said the contribution was made by a construction company and masked as an official campaign donation.

The money originated from a kickback scheme involving contracts handed out by Petrobras, he added.

He said that at the time he had made it clear to Mr Temer that the funds requested would come from "illicit resources".

According to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, Mr Temer has denied asking for illegal contributions to his party's electoral campaigns and has said he never found himself in an "inappropriate place" with Mr Machado.

Mr Temer took office a month ago after his party played a leading part in getting President Dilma Rousseff suspended to face an impeachment trial.

Since then he has lost two cabinet members over an alleged corruption cover-up related to the Petrobras scandal.

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