BRASILIA — Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer sought campaign contributions stemming from a graft scheme at state oil company Petrobras for his party’s 2012 mayoral candidate in Sao Paulo, according to a plea bargain deal by a former Petrobras executive.
The plea deal by Sergio Machado, posted by the supreme court in a national legal database on Wednesday, said the campaign contribution from building firm Queiroz Galvao was made legally but was the result of a political kickback from contracts handed out by Petrobras.
The allegations are the first involving Temer in the sweeping corruption probe of Petrobras, known as “Operation Car Wash,” which has led to the arrest of dozens of business executives and politicians.
Temer’s office had no immediate response to the allegations, which could further unsettle his month-old, center-right coalition following the resignation of two of his ministers in the wake of leaked recordings that formed part of Machado’s plea bargain deal.
Temer was vice president until May, when then-President Dilma Rousseff was suspended from office and put on trial in the Senate on charges of breaking budget laws.
Machado, the former head of Petrobras’ Transpetro shipping and natural gas transportation unit, told prosecutors there was a plan involving Senate Speaker Renan Calheiros and former Planning Minister Romero Juca to obstruct the investigation once Temer took office.
He said in the plea deal that during his tenure at Transpetro, some 100 million reais ($29 million) in illegal political kickbacks were paid to Temer’s Brazilian Democratic Movement Party by Petrobras contractors.