Brazil leader denies report he endorsed bribing ex-lawmaker

Gladys Abbott
May 19, 2017

As part of the investigation, "controlled actions" - recorded conversations and exchanges of money which were tracked by federal police - were carried out.

18 de mayo de 2017, 09:58Brasilia, May 18 (Prensa Latina) The possibility that President Michel Temer goes to prison for obstructing justice is perceived here today as a clear sign of the collapse of the parliamentary-judicial coup d " état perpetrated by a gang of corrupt politicians against Dilma Rousseff. Brazilian federal police are searching the off.

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Temer's office has denied the allegations that he endorsed paying off a witness.

Also named in the JBS plea bargain is Aecio Neves, the head of the Brazil Social Democratic Party (PSDB), who narrowly lost the last presidential race to Ms. Rousseff and was considered a contender for president in the next election.

In his statement Thursday, Temer angrily responded to the claim, saying: "I never bought anyone's silence".

"I will not step down", he said after hours of consultations.

"If Temer doesn't fall, he will lead a walking dead administration", said Claudio Couto, a political science professor at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, a Sao Paulo-based university and think tank. The Globo revelations, if confirmed, would leave him far more vulnerable.

The scandal could jeopardize the economic and political reforms that Temer has pledged, and Brazil needs. He has denied wrongdoing. The top court suspended Neves from the Senate.

The Ibovespa slid 10 percent before trading was halted, and futures on the real dropped 6 percent - also triggering a circuit breaker.

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Brazil's Real currency lost 8% of its value against the USA dollar in the first half of Thursday.

A report by Brazilian media giant O Globo stated that Joesley Batista, chief executive of J&F Investments, which controls JBS Holdings, a meatpacking company, met Temer on March 7. Temer immediately denied the report in O Globo newspaper. Mr Cunha was later imprisoned on a 15-year sentence for corruption.

"The owners of JBS, Joesley and Wesley Batista taped President Michel Temer allegedly agreeing to make bribery payments to ensure that former deputy Eduardo Cunha would not sign a plea agreement".

According to the newspaper's report, when the President became aware that the executives were paying Cunha to keep silent, he said: "You've got to keep this up, right?"

O Globo did not say what he was being paid to keep quiet about.

Both JBS and its holding company, J&F, declined to comment.

Temer's ministers of culture and city planning resigned Thursday, but the president was reportedly encouraged to hold onto power by his closest allies and key members of his inner circle.

"This climate isn't one in which to work", Rodrigo Maia, president of the lower chamber, told Globo News after adjourning legislators.

Temer's brief stint as president has been marked with mounting accusations of corruption, single-digit approval ratings, and widespread protests against his presidency. Given the rampant corruption in Congress, all of whose leaders are under investigation for corruption, Brazilians can only despair for their government.

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