RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian state prosecutors accused Geraldo Alckmin, a market-friendly presidential candidate, of administrative misconduct for allegedly taking 10 million reais ($2.40 million) in illegal campaign funding, a news website reported on Wednesday.
The charges, which must be accepted by a judge before going to trial, are a blow to a campaign that has struggled to get off the ground.
However, the charges are unlikely to halt Alckmin’s campaign. Under Brazilian law, a politician can only be barred from running if convicted of a crime that is upheld on appeal, which cannot possibly occur before next month’s voting.
According to Jota, a website specialized in judicial and regulatory affairs, prosecutors allege Alckmin took the campaign funds from Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], a scandal-plagued construction conglomerate, when he was running for governor of Sao Paulo state.
Representatives for Alckmin did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters, but have previously denied any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors for the state of Sao Paulo, who are in charge of the investigation, declined to comment but said they would hold a press conference on the matter at 2 p.m. local time (1700 GMT).
The charges come a day after Fernando Haddad, the likely presidential candidate for Brazil’s leftist Workers Party, was also charged with corruption by state prosecutors in Sao Paulo, charges he denied.
While neither of the politicians’ campaigns are likely to be stopped, the accusations could hurt the candidates in a year in which Brazilians are increasingly fed up with endemic corruption that has been revealed during four years of intense political graft investigations.
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by David Gregorio)