(Adds resignation of a different Temer aide)
By Lisandra Paraguassu and Leonardo Goy
BRASILIA Dec 14 One of Brazilian President
Michel Temer's closest aides resigned on Wednesday following
allegations he had received graft money from engineering
conglomerate Odebrecht in a widening corruption scandal that is
besieging the government.
Lawyer José Yunes, a friend of the president for 50 years,
denied the allegations in a letter to Temer but said he could
not stay on as his special advisor, according to a copy of the
letter released by the government.
Another key Temer aide, infrastructure investment secretary
Wellington Moreira Franco, denied that he planned to quit after
being named in the same plea bargain testimony by a former
"I am dedicated to helping draw up stimulus measures and
strengthening the infrastructure concessions program. I do not
abandon battles when I believe in the cause," he said through a
A source close to Moreira Franco, however, told Reuters he
had drafted his resignation letter and considered leaving to
lessen the fallout for the government, which has lost four
ministers to graft allegations in the six months since Temer
took over from impeached leftist Dilma Rousseff.
If Moreira Franco quits, it would be a big blow to Temer's
scandal-buffeted government since he is the architect of plans
to draw private investment for a badly needed upgrading of
Brazil's roads, railways, ports and airports.
Moreira Franco was named in the plea bargain statement as
having received illegal campaign funds for the party.
The testimony given to prosecutors by Odebrecht's former
government affairs director Claudio Melo Filho is part of the
massive corruption scandal centered on bribes and political
kickbacks at state-run oil company Petrobras.
Temer's political survival is threatened by allegations that
he, members of his Cabinet and leaders of his PMDB party
received payments from Odebrecht SA, as political
contributions or rewards for passing legislation favoring the
Odebrecht, Brazil's largest construction and engineering
firm that prosecutors say benefited the most from the Petrobras
graft scheme, has signed a leniency deal that includes plea
statements by executives and employees.
The deal has sent shudders through Brazil's political
establishment which is bracing for more leaked statements likely
to implicate as many as 200 politicians.
According to Melo Filho's testimony, the first to be leaked
to Brazilian media, Temer himself asked the company for 10
million reais ($3 million) in political contributions for the
2014 election campaign.
Part of the undeclared money was delivered in cash to Yunes'
law office in Sao Paulo, Melo Filho claimed in his plea bargain.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro;
Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and