Brazilian billionaire charged in bribery scheme

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 8:30 PM

Brazil'south corruption crisis is sparing number one, not even billionaires.

Brazilian billionaire charged in bribery scheme

Brazil'south corruption crisis is sparing number one, not even billionaires.

Prosecutors in Brazil on Thursday charged billionaire Joseph Safra with being involved in a scheme to bribe government tax officials.

Although investigators declare Safra wasn't directly bribing officials, they allege he approved these payments and was kept informed about them. Prosecutors declare that Safra'south team allegedly tried to bribe executive with 15.3 million reais ($4.3 million) in two thousand-fourteenth.

Safra hasn't been arrested. One of the billionaire'south companies, JS Asset Management, called the allegations "unfounded."

Safra created one of Brazil'south biggest banks, Safra Bank, and he owns one of London'south most famous buildings, the Gherkin. He'south worth about $18 billion, according to Forbes.

Related: Impeachment odds grow for Brazil'south president

Billionaire Joseph Safra bought the Gherkin building in London in two thousand-fourteenth. He presently faces corruption charges.

This bribery scandal is totally separate from the scandal that's rocked Brazil, known as "Operation Car Wash."

That investigation has engulfed Brazilian politicians, elites and company execs, fueled by a massive bribery ring at Brazil'south state-run oil company, Petrobras. The Petrobras scandal is a key reason why Brazilians wish President Dilma Rousseff to be impeached.

Odds for Rousseff'south impeachment ratcheted up Tuesday when Brazil'south biggest political party, PMDB, abandoned the coalition led by her Workers' Party.

Related: Brazil: economic crisis worse than feared

The allegations against Safra are a portion of a wider investigation known as "Operation Zealots." In this scandal, companies gave kickbacks to tax officials.

Still, the charges against Safra couldn't arrive at a worse time for Brazil. The country is in its worst recession in twenty-fifth years and a political crisis looms large over the country just months before the Olympics start in Rio.

-Marilia Brocchetto contributed reporting to this article

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