February 9, 2017 / 2:53 PM / 6 months ago

Brazil court overturns ruling to block appointment of Temer ally

Argentine's President Mauricio Macri reviews an honor guard before meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil February 7, 2017.Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - A Brazilian court has overturned a ruling by a federal judge on Wednesday which suspended the nomination of a key ally of President Michel Temer to a ministerial post, the Attorney General's office said on Thursday.

The promotion of Wellington Moreira Franco, who has reportedly been named in the country's massive corruption investigation, sparked controversy because it shields him from investigation from any court other than the Supreme Court.

Moreira Franco denied there was a political motivation behind his promotion.

Judge Eduardo Rocha Penteado noted in his decision suspending the nomination on Wednesday that Moreira Franco was appointed to a ministerial post just three days after the Supreme Court approved plea bargain statements in which he is reportedly named.

Penteado cited the precedence of Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes who last year suspended the nomination of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to a ministerial position after he was named in the corruption scandal.

The Attorney General's office appealed the decision on Wednesday night, stating there was no similarity with Lula's promotion because Moreira Franco was already carrying out high-level government functions as head of a team structuring private-sector partnerships for major infrastructure projects.

The transformation of his role into a minister-level post was only to strengthen his influence on behalf of the government, the Attorney General's office said.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu

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