Brazilian prosecutor says plea deals may boost Temer case: newspaper

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 07, 2017 10:17 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot said plea deals currently under negotiation may contribute to investigations targeting President Michel Temer, according to an interview in the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo on Monday.

"We have ongoing collaborations that could certainly help us with one investigation or another," Janot said in the interview when asked about probes into alleged racketeering and obstruction of justice that may involve Temer.

Janot declined to comment on which potential witnesses would offer testimony.

Federal prosecutors reportedly are discussing plea deals with former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha and businessman Lucio Funaro, both close associates of the president and his allies.

Temer avoided a trial before the Supreme Court last week when the lower house of Congress rejected a bribery charge against him but Janot has threatened to bring more corruption charges, which could test his fractious coalition.

The embattled president is trying to push through overhauls of Brazil's pension and tax laws in an effort to close a gaping budget deficit and get an economic recovery back on track. Further charges could derail his reform agenda.

Janot and his team have been working to present at least one new complaint against Temer, a source told Reuters last week. The source said they have not decided whether the racketeering and obstruction of justice charges will be presented together.

Asked about possible testimony from a figure such as Cunha, Janot told Folha that one of the criteria for a plea deal is that the witness must incriminate a higher-level official.

"He has to turn in people from the upper echelons," he said.

A press representative for Janot confirmed the accuracy of the interview transcript published by Folha.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Brad Haynes and Bill Trott)