Brazil's interim president, Michel Temer, has been named as the recipient of a large donation from jailed construction tycoon Marcelo Odebrecht by the magazine Veja. Temer's spokesman says the support was "all legal."
Veja reported Saturday that magnate Marcelo Odebrecht had told prosecutors that he gave 6 million reals (1.7 million euros/$1.9 million) to Michel Temer in 2014, when Brazil's then-vice president was seeking re-election alongside President Dilma Rousseff.
Dilma is currently facing a Senate impeachment trial for allegedly breaking budget laws. Temer took over in May, when she was suspended.
Veja reported that the donation had emerged in a leaked portion of a plea deal that Odebrecht (pictured center above) was negotiating with prosecutors involved in a huge corruption probe dubbed "Operation Carwash."
Temer has not been accused in the Carwash conspiracy, but Odebrecht's allegation could complicate his bid to secure the presidency by turning undecided senators against convicting Rousseff.
The Senate is due to decide by the end of August on whether to remove her permanently from office.
'All legal,' says Temer's team
Reuters quoted Temer's spokesman, Marcio de Freitas, as saying the donation in 2014 had been duly registered with Brazil's electoral authorities.
"It was all legal," de Freitas said.
Veja reported that Temer had asked Odebrecht for "financial support" during a 2014 dinner involving members of Temer's center-right PMDB party.
Petrobras kickback scandal
Odebrecht was sentenced in March to 19 years jail for his role in the conspiracy in which his company and others paid bribes to Brazil's state oil giant, Petrobras, in exchange for inflated contracts.
Business executives and dozens of politicians have been accused of receiving Petrobras-related graft money, but neither Temer nor Rousseff has.
Speculation centers on whether Odebrecht's plea bargain aimed at reducing his jail term could implicate those under investigation or already arrested.
ipj/bw (AFP, Reuters)