On Wednesday, April 12, an accusation about an illegal bribe taken by president of Brazil, Michel Temer, was revealed to the public. According to Marcio Faria de Silva, former vice-president of the industrial sector of Odebrecht SA, an executive engineering firm, Temer hosted a meeting in 2010 asking for a $40 million illegal payment from Odebrecht SA for his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB). The allegation, taken from the plea bargain of Faria, was denied by Temer, who called it “a lie.”
According to Faria, the meeting included former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, and Congressman Henrique Eduardo Alves, all members of the PMDB. However, Temer’s office later announced that Temer had met with Faria with Cunha present for a “quick and superficial” meeting, and denied Alves’ participation.
Faria stated that upon agreement over the contract, a cash payment in Brazil and foreign bank accounts ensued, where the PMDB took 4 percent, and the left-leaning Workers Party of then-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva collected the remaining 1 percent.
Since the alleged event took place before Temer took office last year, it will not threaten his power. However, the $40 million bribe is hardly the first scandal he and his party has been involved in. In 2014, Temer was accused of soliciting $2.9 million in illegal campaign donations to re-elect Dilma Rousseff. Then, in 2016, a former minister in his cabinet accused Temer of enforcing pressure to overrule a measure that would hurt his political ally’s property deal.
With a 24.4 percent approval rating, some are skeptical that Temer will survive his mandate in 2018. According to Mauricio Santoro, a political scientist and professor of international relations at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, “Impeachment [of Dilma Rousseff] did not end the political crisis. [Temer] probably won’t finish his mandate.”