Brazilian police have accused Rodrigo Maia, Brazil’s powerful lower house speaker, and his father of receiving bribes totalling at least 1.4 million reais (US$ 361,869), a document on Friday showed. The federal police document was delivered to the Supreme Court, as part on an ongoing investigation into Maia.
Brazilian politicians are protected from prosecution, unless the top court approves and agrees to hear a case.
The office of Rodrigo Maia, who has previously said he is innocent of graft allegations, did not respond to request for comment. Neither did his father, Cesar, a former federal congressman and mayor of Rio de Janeiro.
The accusations could prove a headache for the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, which is relying on Maia to guide its thorny pension reform through an un biddable Congress.
The government argues that its proposed pension overhaul would slash public spending, restore finances and revive growth. Maia, speaking at an event in New York on Thursday, forecast the reform would pass within months.
However, the reform faces stiff political and popular opposition, as Bolsonaro’s team has stumbled in its attempts to woo lawmakers into voting for the measure.
Maia and Bolsonaro recently traded barbs in public over the bill, with Bolsonaro jabbing Maia over the fact that a former government minister married to Maia’s mother-in-law was arrested and charged with corruption in Brazil’s far-reaching ‘Car Wash’ probe.
Rodrigo Maia is under two separate graft investigations. Brazil’s Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge this week asked the Supreme Court to allow police to continue investigating him for another two months.
The allegations of wrongdoing are based on plea testimony from executives from Odebrecht, the scandal-plagued Brazilian construction firm at the heart of the Car Wash probe.
The Car Wash investigation has shaken the country’s political and business elites, with over 150 powerful figures convicted in what U.S. prosecutors have called the world’s largest ever corruption investigation.