Brazil's Rousseff alleges President Temer received illegal funds
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Brazil's former President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a news conference for foreign journalists at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
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By Eduardo Simões
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Lawyers for Brazil's former President Dilma Rousseff, impeached and removed from office in May, filed documents with a top electoral court Thursday which they said proved her former vice president and now-leader Michel Temer took a large bribe.
Brazil's top electoral court has for months investigated whether illegal funds were used in Rousseff's successful 2014 re-election campaign for the Workers Party (PT).
If the court rules that occurred, it could reverse her entire ticket's win. That would mean Temer, a member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), would also be removed from office.
Fears that Rousseff's filing meant Brazil's sweeping anti-corruption investigations were creeping closer to Temer helped push Brazil's currency down as much as 5.7 percent to 3.39, the weakest since late June, before ending at 3.385. The nation's benchmark Bovespa stock index fell 2.66 percent to 61,578.
Temer's camp has asked the top electoral court to separately judge his and Rousseff's campaign donations, arguing that Rousseff, as head of the ticket, held all responsibility for any wrongdoing.
The court has yet to indicate if it would judge the cases separately.
The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported in September that Otávio Azevedo, the former chief executive officer of construction firm Andrade Gutierrez, testified as part of a plea bargain deal that he made a 1 million reais ($297,150) bribe to Rousseff.
Azevedo, who was embroiled in a sweeping investigation probe of kickbacks at state-run oil company Petrobras, said he made the payment on July 10, 2014.
Rousseff's lawyers handed over to the top electoral court copies of documents showing that Andrade Gutierrez transferred the 1 million reais ($295,351) directly to the PMDB's general campaign finance fund.
They also presented a copy of a cheque for 1 million reais dated July 10, 2014, that the PMDB finance fund deposited directly into Temer's personal campaign fund.
That, Dilma's lawyers said, proved that Azevedo lied when he told the top electoral court that he made a bribe to the PT - it actually went to Temer, proving that he received illegal funds and should be removed from office.
The PMDB said in a statement that the campaign donation from Andrade Gutierrez was legal and duly declared before the electoral court. It denied that it was a bribe.
Alexandre Parola, a spokesman for Temer, reiterated the PMDB's argument and said Temer had done nothing wrong.
(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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