By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The top federal prosecutor in Brazil, Rodrigo Janot, filed corruption charges against President Michel Temer with the country’s Supreme Court (STF) on Monday. This is the first time in history a sitting President has been charged with a crime in Brazil.
The charges are based on investigations linked to information given to officials by businessman Joesley Batista in his plea bargaining agreement. Also charged was President Temer’s close ally, Rodrigo Santos da Rocha Loures, who supposedly accepted R$500,000 in bribes from Batista in the name of President Temer.
“Between March and April 2017, with free and conscious will, the President of the Republic Michel Miguel Temer Lulia, taking advantage of his position as head of the Executive Power and national political leadership, received for himself, through Rodrigo Santos da Rocha Loures, an undue advantage of R$500,000 offered by Joesley Batista, president of the company J & F Investimentos SA, whose payment was made by the executive of J & F Ricardo Saud,” says the charges presented by Janot.
The charges will now be sent to the Chamber of Deputies to be analyzed by the Lower House. If accusations are accepted by lawmakers, the process will return to the Supreme Court and President Temer will be suspended from office for up to 180 days, while the Court judges the case.
On Monday morning, before the charges were filed, President Temer gave a statement where he focused on reforms, stating that his administration’s proposed agenda is the most ambitious” of recent times. “There is no plan B. We have to move on, so nothing will destroy us, neither me nor my ministers,” he said.
Hours after the charges were filed, Brazil’s Federal Police sent the Supreme Court a final report on its investigations into the JBS allegations. In the document, the federal police say that President Michel Temer and former minister Geddel Vieira Lima tried to hinder investigations.