Brazil's Temer held meeting for $13 mln bribe, Odebrecht exec says

The numbers in Tuesday's decision were staggering: Investigations have been opened into 24 senators - one of whom is a former president of Brazil - 39 congressional deputies, eight Cabinet ministers and three governors.

Justice Edson Fachin released the list of politicians, which includes almost a third of President Michel Temer's Cabinet and Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics.

A Supreme Court judge's bombshell decision has numerous Brazil's top political figures running for cover, the daily Correio Braziliense reports.

Temer is not under investigation since, as president, he has temporary immunity from any crimes committed before he took office.

Lower courts will decide whether to investigate the other four presidents: Rousseff; Lula, who was in office from 2003 to 2011; Cardoso, who was president from 1995 to 2003, and Sarney, who was in office from 1985 to 1990.

Speculation had been mounting over the fallout for Temer's centre-right government from the publication of the Supreme Court list.

All five of Brazil's living former presidents were listed as being implicated in the Car Wash scandal, but only Collor de Mello, who served as president from 1990 to 1992 and is now a senator, will be investigated through the Supreme Court.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, will investigate allegations that Senate President Eunicio Oliveira received $635,000 from Odebrecht as part of a multi-million dollar scheme involving several lawmakers to effectively buy legislation favourable to the company.

Brazilian President Michel Temer, leading a government in crisis.

Earlier on Thursday, Temer's office confirmed in a separate statement he met with Faria in 2010 in the presence of Cunha for a "quick and superficial" meeting, but denied that Alves participated.

He didn't explicitly mention the scandal, but said "If we are not careful, soon people will say the executive (branch) is not working, the legislative (branch) is not working, the judicial (branch) is not working".

Faria said no figures were discussed at the meeting, but the deal was clear: Odebrecht would pay the party 5 percent of the value of the Petrobras contract. According to court documents, the executives had dinner that year with Temer, who was then vice president, and his current Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha. Aécio Neves, leader of the opposition Brazilian Social Democracy Party, who narrowly lost the presidency to Dilma Rouseff in 2014, is named in five separate cases.

The probe is a big blow to Temer's ruling PMDB party, with its senior senator Romero Juca, among those on the list.

The largest fallout may be experienced during next year's election, with major parties seemingly without many untarnished names to put forward as candidates, increasing the possibility of a successful run by an outsider. The probe has ensnared dozens of high-level politicians and executives, and has grown into the biggest graft investigation in the country's history, shocking even the most cynical of Brazilians for the scale of corruption it has revealed.

  • Rogelio Becker