Michel Temer, former Brazilian president who took office after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in August 2016, has since been investigated on accusations of corruption.

In 2017, Brazil’s top anti-corruption prosecutor charged Michel Temer with obstruction of justice and racketeering[1]. Because he was a sitting President, the question of whether a trial should be held was up to Congress. At the end of 2017, lawmakers voted to spare Michel Temer from standing trial, twice, with the New York Times titling in October “President Temer of Brazil Dodges Corruption Prosecution, Again”[2]. This move was reportedly motivated by the fear of political turmoil and the proximity of the following presidential elections, along with arguments of “presidential immunity”. However, critics speculated that the real reason was the fear among lawmakers such investigations could implicate them directly.

After his mandate was over in the end of 2018, the prosecution resumed. In March 2019, Michel Temer was arrested[3] on the basis of new corruption charges, after which he was released under a “habeas corpus” ruling. In May 2019, he was arrested again, released again 6 days later under the same decision[4]. His release was conditioned by the following restrictions:

  • banned from contacting individuals under investigation;
  • banned from changing addresses and leaving the country;
  • hand over passports, and frozen bank accounts;
  • banned from holding public office.

As of March 2019, there were 10 pending inquiries involving the former president Michel Temer, according to DW journal[5]. I have made a summary of allegations released by the press that I have collected so far. For each allegation, the date, a news report, the prosecutor when applicable, his sources and finally the amounted bribes. Quote marks depict quotations from the news report:

  • August 2016, alleged by jailed construction magnate Marcelo Odebrecht, “told prosecutors he contributed illegally to the election campaign of now-interim President Michel Temer in 2014”, reported by Reuters[6]. Investigations are still running. Amount of $1.8m.
  • June 2017, alleged by Brazil’s chief prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, accusing Michel Temer of “taking a $152,000 bribe from, an intermediary, (…) an act that ‘helped to compromise the image of the Federal Republic of Brazil.’”. reported by the New York Times[7], based on a secret tape recording[8]. Moreover, “a further $11 million in bribes was promised, according to the charges, to Mr. Temer and Rodrigo Rocha Loures, a close aide to the president who was filmed taking delivery of a suitcase that the authorities say contained the payment.” Amount of $152k.
  • September 2017, alleged by Brazil’s chief prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, accusing Michel Temer of “taking bribes and of conspiring to buy the silence of a witness” and “acted as leader of a criminal organization”, reported by BBC News[1], based on “the plea-bargain testimony of the owners of the meatpacker JBS, Joesely Batista and Wesley Batista”. Amount of $190m.
  • December 2018, alleged by Brazil’s prosecutor general, Raquel Dodge, accusing Michel Temer of “corruption and money laundering in connection to a graft investigation into the granting of port concessions in exchange for bribes”, reported by DW[9], “based on a report by the federal police, the charges allege that Temer changed laws to the benefit of some companies in the port sector in exchange for kickbacks (…) The charges allege Temer was paid through companies owned by friends.”. Amount of $8.3m.
  • March 2019, alleged by Rio de Janerio prosecutors, accusing Michel Temer of having“received a R$1m bribe in exchange for awarding three companies a construction contract for [a] nuclear facility (…) prosecutors said Temer’s ‘criminal organization’ committed crimes including cartel formation, active and passive corruption, money laundering and fraudulent bidding processes”, reported by The Guardian[10]. Amount of $200k.

There is also a pending investigation extending from the Lava Jato operation, involving almost a third of Michel Temer’s cabinet, which supports the hypothesis of a systemic culture of corruption around him[11].

English-written reports on the issue date back more than one year. Perhaps Portuguese-speakers will be advantaged to answer my questions here, and also those familiar with the Brazilian justice system:

  • What is the legal support for the charges that were bypassed by Congress while he was in office not being reinstated the moment he left his seat?
  • The latest reports on those investigations are more than one year old. Have there been any developments that have not been visible in the English-written press?
  • Given Michel Temer alleged attempts to obstruction of justice, corruption of witnesses, sprawling links to Brazilian politics and depiction as a “kingmaker”, and the fact he has not been sentenced yet, do you think there is a reasonable risk that he will dodge any accountability?

  1. 15 Sep 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41275822
  2. 25 Oct 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/25/world/americas/brazil-michel-temer-corruption.html
  3. 21 Mar 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/21/brazils-former-president-michel-temer-arrested-in-corruption-investigation
  4. 15 May 2019, https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/internacional/en/brazil/2019/05/court-decides-unanimously-to-release-ex-president-michel-temer.shtml
  5. 21 Mar 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/brazils-former-president-temer-arrested-on-corruption-charges/a-48009786
  6. 06 Aug 2016, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-corruption/brazils-odebrecht-gave-illegal-funds-to-temer-campaign-report-idUSKCN10I01X
  7. 26 Jun 2017, ​https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/world/americas/brazil-temer-corruption-charge-joesley-batista.html
  8. 17 May 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/world/americas/brazil-michel-temer-joesley-batista-corruption.html
  9. 19 Dec 2018, https://www.dw.com/en/brazilian-prosecutor-files-graft-charges-against-outgoing-president-michel-temer/a-46811368
  10. 21 Mar 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/21/brazils-former-president-michel-temer-arrested-in-corruption-investigation
  11. 12 Apr 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-39574355
  • 1
    Caveat: I know nothing at all about Temer or Brazilian politics. That being said, if he hasn't been tried and convicted, or even charged, why would he "go to jail"? – CGCampbell Jun 10 '20 at 21:40
  • 1
    @CGCampbell There is audio evidence of bribery. – Jules Sam. Randolph Jun 11 '20 at 12:07
  • Can you refocus this question to be more about a specific political issue? This site generally isn't a good place to follow breaking news or ongoing events, and speculation about the future is one of the main close reasons. – divibisan Jun 11 '20 at 23:03
  • @divibisan I understand. I am drafting a more elaborated version with as focused question. – Jules Sam. Randolph Jun 12 '20 at 11:39
  • @CGCampbell I've updated the post with material supporting the general idea that, given the number of cases in which he is involved, it is difficult to doubt Michel Temer acts of corruption. Although there is still a very narrow statistical chance that he is the victim of a massive plot. – Jules Sam. Randolph Jun 13 '20 at 20:30

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