Brazil corruption probe targets nine ministers

Brazil's Temer bets on low-inflation legacy as growth disappoints

Brazil court orders investigation into top lawmakers

Brazil's President Michel Temer urged lawmakers on Wednesday to push ahead with business as usual, a day after a Supreme Court justice ordered corruption probes into 98 politicians, including leading legislators and a third of his cabinet.

Name given to the corruption investigation launched in March 2014 into allegations that Brazil's biggest construction firms overcharged state-oil company Petrobras for building contracts.

The former Odebrecht employees, including ex-CEO Marcelo Odebrecht, have confessed to systemic bribery of politicians in exchange for inflated contracts with Petrobras and favorable legislation in Congress.

The investigations into more than 60 sitting congressman, including the heads of the lower house and the two major ruling coalition parties rocked congress, threatening to destabilise a reform programme by Mr Temer that is considered crucial for market confidence.

A spokeswoman of Brazil's top court did not confirm the opening of the investigations to The Associated Press.

The list includes the president's chief of staff Eliseu Padilha and the ministers of foreign affairs and agriculture, as well as the speakers of both the lower and upper houses of Congress. The names were reportedly given by executives working for the corruption giant Odebrecht.

Brazil's Supreme Court announced corruption investigations into eight ministers and dozens more top politicians in a sweeping decision that affects nearly one third of embattled President Michel Temer's Cabinet and many of his top allies. The money went either directly into politicians' pockets or into party campaign slush funds.

The Supreme Court judge in charge of the case, Edson Fachin, also referred to lower court's 201 other cases for investigation, including those of ex-presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

Odebrecht paid so many big bribes to so many politicians, executives say, that they set up a company department to manage the money.

May 12: With popular anger against corruption growing, Congress votes to suspend Lula's successor, President Dilma Rousseff, for illegally manipulating government accounts.

Several of Mr Temer's ministers have already had to resign due to involvement in the Car Wash scandal.

The complaints against the politicians expanded the so-called Car Wash probe, which has uncovered massive embezzlement and bribery based on Petrobras.

Nevertheless, the investigations have marched forward, and fraud allegations have swirled around Temer and his government since being installed in office past year.

A former presidential candidate and likely contender for the 2018 elections, Senator Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, also will be investigated, the daily reported.

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