Brazilian President denies laundering bribe money

Michel Temer.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has taken to television to deny a report that he laundered money and said he would urge his security minister to investigate how the allegations were leaked to the media.

Brazil's top court has authorised an investigation into whether Temer accepted a bribe in exchange for a signing a decree favourable to operators at the country's largest port in Santos.

The Folha de S Paulo newspaper reported that Federal Police suspect Temer hid the alleged bribe by purchasing properties in the names of relatives, including his wife and nine-year-old son.

The paper did not name its source.

In a hastily arranged televised address, Temer called the accusations lies and said his income over the past 60 years has been sufficient to justify the property purchases he had made.

"Only an irresponsible person, an ill-intentioned person, would dare try to incriminate my family, my son of nine years old, as money launderers," he said to the journalists.

"What world are we in? I tell you, sirs, it's incredible, it's revolting."

He expressed dismay that the media received information he said his own defence team had been denied.

He said he would "suggest" to public security minister Raul Jungmann that he investigate the leaks.

The investigation into the ports is one of several accusations against Temer, and this is not the first time he has taken to the airwaves to declare his innocence.

Brazil's attorney general has already officially accused him of corruption twice, presenting charges of bribery, leading a criminal investigation and obstruction of justice.

But a sitting president can only be tried if Congress's lower house accepts the charges, and Temer survived both votes in that chamber. He can still be tried after he leaves office.

He is potentially facing a third accusation in the ports case. Recently, some friends and allies were arrested in a sign the investigation was moving forward, although investigators have repeatedly asked the courts to give them more time.

- PA

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