January 23, 2018

Candidated in 2014 presidential elections claims innocence

Friday, May 19, 2017

Recordings claim Aécio Neves’s Senate seat, land him in hot water

Amid the explosive accusations against Brazilian President Michel Temer there were also recordings made by JBS executive Joesley Batista of Aécio Neves, the man who nearly defeated Dilma Rousseff in the 2014 presidential elections — and who yesterday was suspended as a senator by the Supreme Court.

The drastic move came after it was revealed that Neves was recorded asking Batista for US$700,000 to pay for his defence in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) corruption probe. The money was given by a Batista associate to a Neves associate, but lawyer Alberto Zacharias Toron has said that he did not receive any of the money that ostensibly was to go his way. Investigators have treated the money as a bribe. Batista secretly recorded the conversations with Temer and Neves and gave them to justice officials as part of plea bargain negotiations. Neves was already facing Lava Jato (Car Wash)investigations.

In light of the recordings, the Supreme Court suspended him from his position in the Senate and Neves’ sister and cousin were arrested in connection by the Federal Police and his office in the Senate and his homes were searched by police. The office of the attorney-general understood to have sought his arrest and his PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) has already moved to remove him from the leadership of the party. In that regard, he has already announced that he will take leave as party leader and will focus on his defence.

The interim leader of the PSDB, Senator Tasso Jereissati, has appealed for his party’s ministers in Temer’s government to remain in office, partially stemming the damaging news for the president. Temer is a member of the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party), but has built an alliance with the PSDB and other parties.

Neves has recognised that the meeting took place but protested that the money was for personal purposes and that no laws were broken in the exchanges with Batista. He also said that some of the most incriminating parts of the exchanges were actually jokes.

Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin, who authorised Neves‘s suspension as a senator, submitted the request for arrest to the plenary of the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Neves has been prohibited from travelling.

The arrest of Neves’ sister Andrea and his cousin is based on their role in the alleged bribery scheme.

Herald with Reuters

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