Brazil prosecutor seeks graft charge against president

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — In a scathing 64-page indictment, Brazil's top prosecutor described a scheming, arrogant and corrupt President Michel Temer who lined his pockets with illegal money while showing little regard for the office he represented.

President Michel Temer's charges were delivered to the Supreme Court on Monday.

The alleged bribe charge Temer faces is much smaller than the 11 billion reais ($3.4 billion) fine JBS agreed to in a plea bargain in May.

Brazilian executives also report he took bribes from the meatpacking industry in order to pass health safety tests.

Temer's coalition believes it has enough votes in the congress to block the two-thirds majority needed for him to be put on trial.

The complaint against the President says that Batista sent a $152,000 payment to Temer, which was received in a briefcase by former federal lawmaker Rodrigo Rocha Loures, who also was charged in the case.

With a general election due next year and Mr Temer's approval rating at seven per cent analysts say many deputies will be reluctant to be seen to publicly protect the man who is officially the country's least popular president since polling began. "In that case, there will be defections and colleagues may start to move against Temer." - a senior lawmaker in Temer's coalition.

"It's too soon to foresee if President Temer can survive the corruption charges against him".

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Brazilian President Michel Temer in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, .

The charges against Temer come as Brazil braces for a possible conviction in the trial of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In the recording, Temer was heard saying after being informed that hush money was being paid to the former head of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, "Look, you've got to keep that up". He says the charges against Temer make it hard for lawmakers to vote on financial reforms and cuts to public spending.

The president allegedly already accepted 500,000 reals (US$ 152,000) from JBS South America via an intermediary, according to charges filed by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot, The New York Times reported.

Temer's comments were his first since returning from a trip to Russian Federation and Norway last week that was filled with gaffes and mounting bad news. "Not me and not our ministers", Temer said during the ceremonial signing of a bill in the capital of Brasilia.

It is the first time that a sitting Brazilian president has been charged, but Temer has pledged to stay in office. The increased deforestation began before Temer took power previous year, but environmentalists argue his policies are aggravating the situation.

The Operation Car Wash investigation was launched in March 2014, and companies that were offered deals with state oil giant Petrobras in exchange for bribes, which were funneled into politicians' pockets and political party slush funds.