Brazil police ask that President Temer face fresh corruption charges: document

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s federal police have recommended to prosecutors that President Michel Temer be charged with taking bribes and money laundering, according to a police document reviewed on Wednesday by Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Michel Temer speaks during the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 26, 2018. Gulshan Khan/Pool via REUTERS

The investigation involves 10 million reais ($2.41 million) in illicit funds Temer’s Brazilian Democratic Party allegedly received from construction firm Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] in 2014, according to the police document.

Odebrecht made the alleged payment in 2014, when Temer was vice president.

Temer’s office said in a written statement that the president had done no wrongdoing and that the funds received from Odebrecht were legal campaign donations.

Brazil’s Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge requested in March that Temer be investigated despite the constitution barring him from standing trial for crimes committed before he became president as long as he remains in power.

The police document indicated that mines and energy minister Wellington Moreira Franco and Temer’s chief of staff Eliseu Padilha were also involved in the alleged scheme and requested they face corruption charges.

Requests for comment from Moreira Franco and Padilha were not immediately returned.

Under Brazilian law, at the conclusion of an investigation police must request that prosecutors make any formal charges. If they do so, it is then up to a judge to decide if the charges merit a trial.

Dodge’s office did not return after hours calls seeking comment, and it was not clear if or when she would decide to act on the police requests for corruption charges.

Temer has already faced previous corruption charges, which were blocked by Congress last year. Under Brazilian law, congressmen must approve any charges related to conduct in office against a sitting president, who could then only be tried before the Supreme Court.

Once Temer leaves office on Jan. 1, he could still face the charges that Congress blocked and any new charges that may be filed against him while still in office.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Cynthia Osterman