News Worms
News Worms

Brazil's Temer denies approving hush money in corruption case

Temer is alleged to have talked with Joesley about cash payments to Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the House who has been jailed for his role in the sprawling Petrobras corruption scandal. Temer has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

Mr Temer took power a year ago when president Dilma Rousseff was impeached and then removed for illegally managing the federal budget.

On Thursday he denied allegations of corruption and rejected calls for his resignation. "I didn't buy anyone's silence".

"I will not resign", he announced emphatically in a brief televised statement to the nation. Globo also reported that Batista alleges the president of the ruling party, PMDB, Aecio Neves, request 2 million reais from him and that the money was transferred to Neves via another lawmaker.

On Thursday, police searched Neves' Rio de Janeiro home and Brasilia office, and Brazil's highest court suspended him from office.

According to the report, the information was revealed when the owners of the meat and chicken conglomerate JBS testified before the Supreme Court behind closed doors as part of a massive corruption investigation, dubbed "Operation Car Wash", which implicates former and current politicians.

The country's Bovespa stock index fell in Sao Paulo trading by about 10.5 percent, forcing a temporary trade stop for stocks. The difference is largely due to the Brazilian currency's one-day decline against the US dollar. Both chambers of Congress cancelled sessions and Mr Temer's office axed his planned activities.

Batista told Temer that he was paying money to make sure that Cunha - thought to have encyclopedic knowledge of Brazil's notoriously dirty political world - would keep quiet while serving his jail sentence for taking bribes.

The paper reported that Batista and his brother, Chief Executive Wesley Batista, presented the recording to prosecutors as part of plea bargain negotiations, adding that JBS also hired a law firm to discuss a leniency deal with the U.S. Department of Justice.

"President Michel Temer never solicited payments to obtain the silence of former deputy Eduardo Cunha", a statement from the Executive Branch said.

That scandal eventually led to the impeachment and downfall of the previous President, Dilma Rousseff, after which Temer was installed as President.

If Temer resigns or is impeached, Brazil's constitution calls for Congress to name a successor within 30 days.

Temer is reportedly heard replying, "You have to keep it going, OK?" according to O Globo newspaper, which didn't disclose how it had received the information.

The existence and the contents of the recording were reported Wednesday night by the Globo newspaper.

Three people with direct knowledge of the investigation said the O Globo report was accurate. JBS declined to comment immediately.

Temer and Cunha are members of the same party and were previously allies.

Many believe that Cunha, who was widely viewed as Brazil's most powerful politician before being ensnared in several corruption cases, could provide damaging testimony about dozens of others if he reaches a plea bargain with investigators.


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