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Close associates of Brazil’s President Temer detained in corruption probe

Staff Writer | March 30, 2018
Three close associates of Brazil’s President Michel Temer were jailed on Thursday as part of a probe into whether the head of state took bribes in exchange for a decree benefiting a port company.
Joao Baptista Lima Filho
LatAm   Jose Yunes and Joao Baptista Lima Filho
The detainees include attorney Jose Yunes and retired Military Police Col. Joao Baptista Lima Filho, both friends of Temer who are being held on five-day arrest orders.

After being detained at his Sao Paulo home, Lima complained of health problems and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

Also taken into custody was former Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi, who between 1999 and 2000 was president of the company that manages the Port of Santos (Sao Paulo state), Latin America’s busiest container port.

Police also have arrested Antonio Grecco, a partner in the port company, Rodrimar S.A., that is at the center of the corruption probe.

The arrests were authorized by Supreme Court Judge Luis Roberto Barroso, who is leading the port-decree investigation.

Authorities are probing allegations that the Temer-led Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) party benefited Rodrimar through the 2017 decree, which altered the nation’s ports law, in exchange for bribes.

As part of the investigation, Brazilian Attorney General Raquel Dodge obtained a Supreme Court order late last month that lifted the bank secrecy of Temer, who has held his nation’s highest office since predecessor Dilma Rousseff was ousted for violating budget laws.

Yunes and Lima have been accused of serving as intermediaries for the alleged bribes received by Temer.

Temer, who may run in Brazil’s presidential election in October despite extremely low approval ratings, has repeatedly denied any irregularities in connection with the decree.

He says he signed the document after lengthy negotiations between his administration and the port sector.