Court accepts charges against Brazil banker Joseph Safra

A Brazilian federal court has accepted charges filed by prosecutors against banking tycoon Joseph Safra for allegedly agreeing to pay more than $4 million in bribes to tax auditors to reduce or annul fines on unpaid taxes.

A court press officer says that acceptance of the charges means that Safra and former bank executive Joao Inacio Puga are now defendants in the investigation of the bribery scheme.

The Federal Prosecutor's Office said last month that Safra knew of a 2014 plan by executives at Banco Safra to pay 15.3 million reals ($4.25 million) in bribes. Puga allegedly negotiated the scheme.

Prosecutors have said that Safra was not directly involved in the bribery negotiations, but tapped conversations showed that Puga reported to Safra on the bribery talks.