Lawyers for Brazil's president ask top court to annul police graft accusations

Brazil's President Michel Temer reacts during a Solemnity of Delivery of the National Order of Scientific Merit, at the Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Thomson Reuters

By Ricardo Brito

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Lawyers for Brazil's President Michel Temer on Wednesday asked the country's top court to annul a federal police report that recommended he and his close associates be charged with graft and have their assets confiscated.

Police have been investigating Temer for allegedly taking bribes in return for helping shape a decree regulating Brazil's ports, and in particular for extending concessions in the port of Santos to benefit companies of close associates.

Temer, who took office in 2016 after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached, has repeatedly said he is innocent. He has faced several graft allegations, but is immune from prosecution while in office, unless the Supreme Court decides to strip his immunity.

Temer's defense team argued that the federal police should not be able to charge Temer without the authorization of the Supreme Court or the public prosecutors office.

The federal police report, which was seen by Reuters on Tuesday, recommended that Temer, his daughter Maristela, his former adviser Rodrigo Rocha Loures and eight others face charges and have their assets confiscated for their role in allegedly laundering bribes through real estate transactions.

Carlos Marun, Brazil's minister of government, said on Wednesday that Temer was "outraged and shaken" by the police report.

Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso, who is overseeing the case, said on Tuesday he would wait to see the findings of Brazil's public prosecutors office before deciding on how to proceed.

Temer's term ends on Jan. 1, and with it his immunity from prosecution.

Congress voted twice last year to block Temer from standing trial in the Supreme Court on three corruption charges leveled against him.


(Reporting by Ricardo Brito, Writing by Gabriel Stargardter, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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