Brazil's Temer: 'I won't resign' amid corruption allegations

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 19, 2017

The tape, reported by O Globo Wednesday evening, revealed that Temer had given his blessing to hefty bribes in the name of keeping a key witness, Eduardo Cunha, quiet in the country's largest-ever corruption investigations, known as Operation Car Wash.

Brazilian President Michel Temer says he won't be resigning over allegations that he endorsed hush money payments to a former ally, denying the charges in an address on TV.

Temer's situation grew more perilous after the Supreme Court approved an investigation into allegations against him, according to a source with direct knowledge of the decision.

The Bovespa index crashed more than 10 percent after opening, triggering an automatic suspension of trading for 30 minutes.

A demonstrator carries a sign that reads in Portuguese "Get out Temer" to protest Brazilian President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

On Thursday, police searched Neves' Rio de Janeiro home and Brasilia office, and Brazil's highest court suspended him from office. He is being investigated in several corruption cases related to the "Car Wash" probe into kickbacks to politicians.

The president has denied any wrongdoing, and his office has petitioned the Supreme Court to release the contents of the secret recording.

The O Globo newspaper reported on Wednesday night that Temer met in March with Joesley Batista, chairman of meat company JBS SA (JBSS3.SA), which grew rapidly under 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule due largely to low-priced loans from Brazil's national development bank.

The Supreme Federal Tribunal has opened an investigation into the accusation against Temer and lifted the seal on the recording.

The measure came after the statements made last March to the Attorney General's Office by entrepreneurs Joesley and Wesley Batista, owners of the JBS refrigerator, part of which was published last night by O Globo newspaper in its digital version.

Rousseff, from the leftist Workers' Party, accused Temer and Cunha, from the center-right PMDB party, of mounting a coup.

National news outlets like O Globo, Estadao and Valor Economico all reported that the investigation would move forward, though the court itself has refused thus far to comment.

The investigation raised the possibility Brazil could see a second president fall in less than a year and sent Brazilian financial markets tumbling on doubts Congress would pass Temer's ambitious austerity agenda. Both chambers of Congress cancelled sessions and Temer's office canceled his planned activities.

Temer then allegedly told Batista: "You need to keep that up, okay?" However, they appear to have had a falling out amid a growing investigation into corruption involving the state oil giant Petrobras.

Congressman Alessandro Molon, from the Rede party, filed a demand for impeachment with the speaker of the lower house, Rodrigo Maia.

"That's why today the main question is to know whether the parties that form the government's base will leave", said Thomaz Pereira, constitutional law professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio.

Meanwhile, Temer's latest approval rate was staggering four per cent.

If the allegations are proven true, "President Temer is unlikely to finish his term", Eurasia wrote, adding that at the very least the matter will delay major reforms Temer is proposing.

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