When 77 Odebrecht executives signed a plea deal to help prosecutors of Operation Car Wash, the political world nicknamed the deal “the end of the world plea deal.” It wasn’t an overstatement. This week, the inflammatory content of the executives’ statements reveal that nearly all politicians in the highest offices of the Republic profited from corruption schemes.
BuzzFeed News Brazil published the list with the names cited by one of the company’s former executives, Cláudio Melo Filho. He was Odebrecht’s VP of Institutional Relations – a fancy name for “bribery guy.”
Among the names he pointed out to prosecutors are President Michel Temer, House Speaker Rodrigo Maia, and Senator Renan Calheiros.
According to the whistleblower, a high executive at Odebrecht delivered 10 million Brazilian Reals to a close friend of Temer’s. It was a “contribution” to campaigns of the President’s party – the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party. Melo Filho stated that “Temer personally requested the money from CEO Marcelo Odebrecht.”
The President’s press team has issued a statement responding the accusations. “All donations made to PMDB’s national committee followed the electoral legislation. In fact, there was no irregular funding, nor money delivery to the President.”
Risks for the government
President Michel Temer has expressed his worries about the recent accusations. According to some of his close aides, the orders are “to wait for the dust to settle” before making any prognostics.
Melo Filho has denounced virtually the entire group of Temer’s closest allies – such as his chief of staff and unofficial advisors. House Speaker Rodrigo Maia – the first man in the presidential succession line – has allegedly received 100,000 BRL.
Evidently, the whistleblower must provide evidence to corroborate his claims. If he does so, it could mean the ruin of nearly the entire federal government. It’s no wonder that Congress tried to pass an amnesty to politicians who benefited from illegal campaign contributions.
As a congressman said during the vote: “politicians are not worried about the upcoming election. Actually, they are concerned about not going to jail.”
“Brazilian of the Year”
Earlier this week, conservative magazine IstoÉ named Michel Temer the Brazilian Person of the Year. Is was far from the first questionable decision by the magazine, known for its fondness towards the government (no matter who’s in power).
In the past, it selected high officials of the Workers’ Party’s administration as “man of the year.” Some of them, like former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci and former Chief of Staff José Dirceu, are in jail.
In fact, Michel Temer could keep the streak going.