Prosecutors in Brazil have indicted the nation’s President, Michel Temer on charges of corruption and racketeering.
This is the second time he has been charged in three months.
Brazil, in South America, is one of the world’s biggest democracies. From 2000 to 2012, the country’s average annual GDP grew at a rate of over 5%. In 2012, the economy surpassed that of the United Kingdom, temporarily making it sixth largest economy in the world.
In 2017, it was reported that it was in the midst of its worst ever recession. The growth rate is now 8% lesser than it was in December 2014. However, it still remains one of the most influential countries in the region.
In August 2017, Brazilian President Michel Temer narrowly avoided being impeached after the Brazilian Congress voted in favor of not to putting him on trial for corruption. Temer has been battling corruption charges since May 2017. He has been accused to taking $160,000 bribe from a meatpacking company, JBS SA. Brazil’s prosecutor-general has alleged that the total money that Temer has taken as bribes amounts to over $12million. Temer has staunchly denied the charges.
For the second time in three months, Temer has been indicted on corruption related charges. According to Brazil’s prosecutor general’s office, he has been charged of racketeering. In addition to Temer, six other politicians from his party have also been indicted. Three of them are currently already serving time in jail.
Temer has been accused of leading a racket that reportedly R$587m in illicit funds over the past 11 years. The prosecutors said, “They practiced illicit acts in exchange for bribes by way of diverse public organs. Michel Temer is accused of having acted as the leader of the criminal organization since May 2016.” The Chief prosecutor Rodrigo Janot has filed a 245-page indictment against the President.
These charges are also related to the President’s alleged dealings with JBS SA. Reportedly, the plea-bargain testimony resulted in prosecutors going after the President.
Thiago de Aragão, a political consultant with Arko Advice in Brasília said that these charges were also unlikely to go to trial. He tweeted, “The second accusation from [the] chief prosecutor’s office is unlikely to prosper and should have the same fate as the first one.” According to experts, this is because Temer still enjoys support from the country’s lawmakers.
The three members who are already in jail are - Henrique Alves and Eduardo Cunha, and Geddel Vieira Lima. Alves and Cunha are former speakers of the Lower House. Lima is a former minister who served in Temer’s cabinet. He was arrested after police found around 16 million pounds in an apartment that is reportedly connected to him.
Temer has dismissed the news charges noting that they were “full of absurdities.”
Our assessment is that Temer will be escape trial once again as he has strong support. Additionally, since Mexico is showing signs of economic recovery, lawmakers will be reluctant to cause political instability. However, this does not mean Temer will be without consequences. It is likely that once he is out of office, he could be brought on trial.