Brazil's Meirelles would lead finance ministry, with conditions - Folha

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - If Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer takes power, former central bank President Henrique Meirelles would accept the position of finance minister under the condition he was given approval rights over members of the entire economic team, newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported on Sunday.

Former President of Brazil's central bank Henrique Meirelles gestures during the Industry National Meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Rodrigo Paiva

Meirelles and Temer met in Brasilia on Saturday, Folha said without disclosing the source of its information. Meirelles told Folha in a separate interview he had agreed to advise Temer but had not been invited to join a potential cabinet.

A spokesman for Temer said the Folha story was speculative.

Temer would take over the presidency if the Senate votes to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial next month, as is widely expected. The lower house of congress voted to impeach Rousseff for breaking budget laws, a charge she denies.

Meirelles is the current chairman of investment holding company J&F Investimentos SA and served as central bank president under Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former president and Rousseff’s mentor.

Reuters has reported other potential candidates for Temer's finance minister are the head of the country's banking industry lobby Murilo Portugal and Goldman Sachs Group Inc's GS.N chairman in Brazil Paulo Leme.

If he takes power, Temer and his economic team will face a recession likely to be the nation’s longest and harshest in over a century. Brazilian markets have rallied in recent weeks on hopes a Temer government will be more friendly to investors than the leftist Rousseff and her Workers’ Party.

Temer, the head of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), also met with Paulo Skaf, president of the influential Sao Paulo industry federation on Sunday.

Skaf told local papers Temer had assured him he would not be in favor of raising taxes if he becomes president -- the main condition for the federation’s support.

Meirelles belongs to Brazil’s PSD (Social Democratic Party), whose leader last week was the latest to leave an alliance with Rousseff’s government.

Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Alan Crosby