HomeNewsBriefBrazil Police Map Corruption 'Gang,' Arrows Point to President Temer
BRIEF

Brazil Police Map Corruption 'Gang,' Arrows Point to President Temer

BRAZIL / 13 SEP 2017 BY MIKE LASUSA AND TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

Brazil's federal police have created a diagram to illustrate their conception of the leadership structure of a "gang" of politicians accused of involvement in a massive graft scheme. And they put the country's president at the center of the alleged criminal organization.

Brazilian President Michel Temer "had authority of command" over a criminal structure composed of members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro - PMDB), according to federal police documents submitted to Brazil's Supreme Court on September 11, Folha de São Paulo reported.

The police say that Temer illegally pocketed 31.5 million reais ($10 million) in his role as the leader of the "gang," which allegedly involved delegating criminal tasks to other individuals involved in a massive corruption scheme.

A separate Folha de São Paulo report reproduced two police diagrams from the investigation. The first places Temer at the center of the PMDB "gang" structure with jailed former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, also of the PMDB, at his side. The second diagram, shown below, illustrates how police believe Temer and Cunha were also key players in a broader graft scheme that involved major Brazilian construction companies like OAS and Odebrecht.

17-09-13-Brazil-Temer Diagram 2

(Police diagram of the alleged "gang" within the PMDB, courtesy of Folha de São Paulo)

This is not the first time Temer has been investigated for his alleged involvement in the extensive elite criminality revealed by the wide-ranging probe known as "Operation Car Wash" ("Operação Lava Jato"). The president is also under investigation for alleged corruption related to the management of Brazil's commercial ports, according to Reuters. And authorities are looking into whether he obstructed justice by encouraging a businessman to pay hush money to Cunha.

InSight Crime Analysis

The police diagram showing Temer and Cunha as the leaders of a "gang" is the latest attempt by investigators to prove that Brazil's political parties essentially acted as criminal structures.

Judicial officials have adopted a similar angle of attack against Brazil's Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores - PT). Last week, Brazil's two previous presidents, Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, and other top PT officials were charged with controlling the "political nucleus" of the web of corruption revealed by Operation Car Wash.

Now, investigators appear to be honing in on the PMDB's role in the scandal, including the ties between party officials and companies like Odebrecht, which have previously admitted to operating in an organized, criminal manner to corrupt politicians in Brazil and other countries in the region. Prosecutors have described this as the "economic nucleus" of the overarching criminal structure.

SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profiles

Earlier investigations into the "economic nucleus" and subsequent plea bargains resulted in important testimonies from major actors in this node that have been crucial in helping authorities pursue the political side of the graft network. But so far, congress has protected the president, voting to block previous charges against him from advancing. And members of congress, a third of whom have been implicated by the Car Wash investigations, have also made efforts to protect themselves from the anti-graft probe.

If politicians believe they will be protected, there is much less incentive for them to enter into plea agreements that could provide crucial evidence about how the massive corruption scheme functioned. But if some of the top players in the political nucleus do flip, they could have important information to offer to investigators. Indeed, speculation has surfaced recently that Cunha -- by most accounts a key player in the graft network -- may enter into a game-changing plea bargain if a more friendly official replaces outgoing Attorney General Rodrigo Janot.

Save

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 7 MAY 2021

The cat-and-mouse game of evading law enforcement was taken literally by drug smugglers recently in Panama, who hid cocaine on…

COCAINE / 5 NOV 2019

An alleged drug trafficker whose ledgers proved key to convicting the Honduran president’s brother was brutally murdered in prison, leading…

AMIGOS DOS AMIGOS / 6 DEC 2017

One of Rio’s most wanted drug kingpins has been arrested in a massive security operation, raising questions about how his…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…