By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President Michel Temer and allies maybe in for another turbulent week with the arrest of Temer’s former aide, Rodrigo Rocha Loures, on Saturday. Loures was filmed in April receiving a suitcase with R$500,000 from JBS executives, said to be bribe money.
The arrest request came from Brazil’s Prosecutor General, Rodrigo Janot, who, according to a government news agency, stated in his request that the arrest of the former congressional representative was ‘essential for the guarantee of public order and criminal investigation’.
Local media and political analysts now speculate weather Loures will agree to a plea-bargaining deal with federal prosecutors in exchange for leniency. According to local media, the suitcase may directly tie Temer’s PMDB party and the President himself to the mega-corruption scandal dubbed Lava Jato (Car Wash).
The recordings of a meeting between Temer and former JBS CEO Joesley Batista, according to daily O Globo, reveal that Temer assigned his aide, Loures, to ‘take care’ of the problems faced by J&F Investments, a main stockholder of JBS, one of the largest meat processing company in the world.
The alleged negotiations called for the company to pay over R$480 million during twenty years, at R$500,000 per week, to Temer’s PMDB party. According to federal police, the suitcase Loures was filmed receiving was part of that agreement.
Loures’ arrest was only possible after the Loures lost his congressional standing and privileged forum. Loures was sitting in for Osmar Serraglio, who in turn was substituted late in May by Torquato Jardim as head of the Ministry of Justice.
After being replaced, Serraglio refused President Temer’s offer to nominate him as Transparency Minister, deciding instead to back to finish his mandate as a representative at the Chamber of Deputies.