Updated 2 weeks ago

Brazil judge targets dozens of politicians for ‘corruption’

A Brazilian judge has revealed the names of dozens of politicians to be investigated over alleged involvement in a huge bribery scandal.

After much speculation in the country's press, Judge Edson Fachin unveiled his extensive list on Tuesday.

It includes almost a third of President Michel Temer's cabinet and Rio de Janeiro's mayor during the Olympics.

The names were passed by corrupt former officials from construction giant Odebrecht.

The firm has admitted paying $1bn (£800,000) in bribes.

Judge Fachin's list names a total of eight ministers, including Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes and the president's chief of staff, plus scores of other members of Congress.

Its release is part of a major probe known as Operation Car Wash, which was launched three years ago amid escalating public discontent over political corruption.

The operation centres on companies that were offered deals with state oil company Petrobras in exchange for bribes, which were funnelled it into politicians' pockets and political-party slush funds.

Grupo Odebrecht, the region's largest construction conglomerate, is one of those companies, and 77 of its executives have entered into plea deals, agreeing to provide information in exchange for more lenient sentences.

The names on Judge Fachin's list have come to light as part of that plea bargain.

The executives say they paid so many bribes that they set up a special department to manage the money.

Although the list spans all major parties, the revelations strike a particular blow to President Temer, who came to power after the previous president was impeached for illegally manipulating government accounts.

His chief of staff, Eliseu Padilha, is among those named on the list.

Mr Padilha has said he will defend himself in court.

President Temer's office has not commented on Judge Fachin's list, but he has vowed to suspend ministers who are charged as a result of the investigations.

The list also names a number of potential presidential candidates for elections in 2018, including Aecio Neves and former foreign minister Jose Serra.