Acting Brazilian President Michel Temer on Thursday vehemently refuted charges that he channeled illegal campaign funds to political allies in 2012 municipal elections. In testimony to Federal Police, former oil executive Sérgio Machado alleged that Temer took part in a complex scheme to siphon funds from state-run oil company Petrobras for use in political campaigns, including the 2012 race for mayor of São Paulo. Machado was president of Transpetro, a Petrobras subsidiary, at the time. He has admitted his own role in siphoning Petrobras funds and turning them over to various political party leaders. Machado offered his testimony as part of a limited immunity deal with prosecutors. He said Temer received R$1.5 million from the scheme. In a brief television address Thursday, Temer told the nation: “I could not allow this calumny to stand without being refuted.” He called Machado’s charges, “irresponsible, unfounded, untrue and criminal.” Temer took over as acting chief executive in May following the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The Senate is due to take a final vote in August on whether to permanently unseat Rousseff.
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