By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Among those authorized to be investigated for corruption by Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin, are eight of President Michel Temer’s cabinet members. The main accusations against them are corruption and money laundering. If they are charged, Temer has already said he would remove them from their positions.
“If the complaint is accepted, and then, the minister becomes a defendant of Lava Jato, the removal will be final,” Temer told journalists in February 2017.
Among those to be investigated are two of President Temer’s closest aides, Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha, and the General Secretariat to the Presidency, Wellington Moreira Franco.
Both are accused of asking for illegal resources to pay for PMDB election campaigns. The two were cited in the testimonies of six former Odebrecht executives, including the former CEO of the conglomerate, Marcelo Odebrecht.
While Moreira Franco refused to comment on the latest accusations, in a statement, Padilha said he would only speak after obtaining a copy of what was said about him.
In any case, Padilha told journalists that the Supreme Court investigation into dozens of politicians and high officials would not hinder the on-going operations of the Administration.
“We do not think it will disrupt the welfare reform,” Padilha was quoted as saying to a government news outlet.
The other six ministers to be investigated for corruption include Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes, Minister of Cities, Bruno Araújo, and Minister of Agriculture, Blairo Maggi.
Also Minister of National Integration, Helder Barbalho, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, Marcos Antônio Pereira, and Minister of Science and Technology, Gilberto Kassab.