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Temer’s party faces more corruption probes
September 25, 2016, 2:04 pm

Temer's post-Rousseff presidency has been rocked by demonstrations and protests against reforms amid continuing graft allegations [Xinhua]

Temer’s post-Rousseff presidency has been rocked by demonstrations and protests against reforms amid continuing graft allegations [Xinhua]

Brazil’s so-called Operation Car Wash, which investigates the link between high-ranking state officials with a corruption scandal at top energy producer Petrobras, seems like the gift that keeps on giving.

Early on Saturday, Brazilian Supreme Court Judge Teori Zavascki agreed that an investigation can be opened into allegations that President Michel Temer and his closest allies were involved in a kickback scheme within Petrobras.

Zavascki’s decision comes just a week after anti-corruption judge Sérgio Moro’s announcement that a trial will proceed for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on allegations he received at least $1 million in kickbacks from Petrobras.

Two weeks ago, Speaker of Brazil’s House of Representatives (Chamber of Deputies) Eduardo Cunha, once the strongest instigator and supporter of the impeachment proceedings against former President Dilma Rousseff, was himself expelled from chambers on charges of lying about having a secret Swiss bank account and other allegations related to the Petrobras scandal.

Rousseff herself was never implicated in any corruption linked to Petrobras but was impeached because of mishandling and misrepresenting the federal budget during her 2014 reelection campaign.

According to judiciary sources, Zavascki’s preliminary investigation implicates Temer and senior allies of his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB).

Senate President Renan Calheiros is also likely to be investigated, but Temer himself does not appear to be directly named in the probe.

Nevertheless, the investigation will damage Temer’s already feeble public standing. Poll after poll show that he is as unpopular as former President Dilma Rousseff before she was impeached.

Most Brazilians do not want him to run in 2018 presidential elections and others want him removed from office before then.

Temer is expected to try and push tough austerity measures through the Senate in October but his pension reform and pay increase freezes have already proven very unpopular as street protests increase.

On Saturday, the Union of Bank Workers joined the anti-Temer demonstrations. They were joined by the National Confederation of Financial Workers leading to a closure of at least 13,000 branches, according to news broadcaster Telesur.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies