By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former Presidential candidate, Senator Aecio Neves, asked for R$2 million from JBS President Joesley Batista, according to the executive in his plea-bargaining agreement. With the latest turn of events Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin has asked that Neves be suspended from Congress and the Chief Prosecutor has asked for his arrest.
According to Batista, the senator asked for the money to be delivered in a briefcase to his cousin, who deposited the amount in an account of another senator. Police tracked the money with devices hidden in the briefcase and videotaped the exchange.
Batista is also said to have reported that Neves implied that the money would be used to pay for his defense in the Lava Jato (Carwash) investigations.
The former presidential candidate denied any wrongdoing stating that the request was on a personal level, as a loan, and that no impropriety was involved. The senator’s press office released a note Wednesday stating that the senator “is absolutely calm about the correctness of all his acts. As regards the relationship with Mr. Joesley Batista, it was strictly personal, without any involvement with the public sector,” said the statement.
On Thursday morning federal police with warrants searched Neves’ offices in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. His office in Congress was also cordoned off by police, as investigators conduct their search.
Brazil’s Chief Prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, requested Neves’ arrest, which was denied by the Supreme Court.
Neves’ sister, Andrea Neves, and his cousin Frederico Pacheco de Medeiros were arrested early Thursday morning in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.