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LATIN AMERICA | 30-04-2018 14:34

Brazil President Temer angrily rejects latest graft allegations

Claim the president laundered bribe money through remodelling of some of his family’s properties.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has angrily rejected newspaper reports that he laundered bribe money through remodelling of his family's properties.

A report in the respected Folha de São Paulo newspaper said a police investigation into corruption involving several of Temer's friends pointed to the president laundering money in residences belonging to his wife Marcela and their son, among other family.

Investigators believe that one of the accused, retired colonel Joao Baptista Lima, facilitated bribes to Temer worth at least two million reais (US$578,200) in 2014, Folha said. The bribes were allegedly paid by port logistics company Rodrimar in exchange for having concessions extended in São Paulo's Santos harbor.

O Globo newspaper, meanwhile, reported that police will question one of Temer's daughters, Maristela Temer, next Wednesday. A house belonging to her in São Paulo is suspected to have been used to launder money.

Temer lashed out in a televised statement at the "lies against my honour."

"Only someone irresponsible, badly intentioned, would dare to try to paint me, my family and my nine-year-old son as money launderers," he said.

"I have been working for almost 60 years," he said. Any "math teacher could see that over time I have obtained sufficient wealth to buy the properties that I bought and remodel the properties that I remodelled."

The arrests of Temer's associates in March brought Brazil's giant corruption scandal ever closer.

Last year, two criminal corruption charges were filed against Temer, but he escaped further prosecution because Congress voted against removing his presidential immunity.

Dozens of powerful politicians have fallen into the Lava Jato ("Car Wash") anti-graft net following revelations that Brazil's leaders were systematically giving contracts with state-controlled enterprises in exchange for massive bribes.

Earlier this month, ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva began a 12-year prison sentence after being convicted of taking a seaside apartment as a bribe from a major construction company seeking contracts with state-controlled oil company Petrobras.

- AFP

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