Top prosecutor to use new testimony against Brazil's Temer, source says

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - The office of Brazil’s Prosecutor General plans to use an entrepreneur’s testimony in a new plea bargain deal to build up an investigation targeting President Michel Temer, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The office of the Prosecutor General signed a plea deal with entrepreneur Lúcio Funaro, who worked for politicians close to Temer, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to detail the terms of the plea deal.

The content of Funaro’s expected testimonies, which will be taken by prosecutors in coming days, will be used as part of Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot’s plan to present formal charges against Temer, the person said.

Prosecutors in Brazil have been investigating bribes and graft between politicians and private companies in the country’s worst corruption scandal ever. The probes also helped accelerate the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff a year ago.

Racketeering and obstruction of justice charges against Temer could be presented depending on the strength of the evidence, a source told Reuters earlier this month.

Press representatives for Temer did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment. Temer and his legal team have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for the office of the Prosecutor General was not immediately available. Funaro’s lawyer could not be contacted.

On Aug. 2, Temer avoided a trial before the Supreme Court when the lower house of Congress rejected a Janot-pressed bribery charge against him.

Janot has repeatedly threatened to bring more corruption charges against the president, related to the latter’s involvement in a massive corruption scandal known as “Operation Car Wash.”

Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Lisa Shumaker