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After listening to tape Temer says probe should be shelved

19 Mai 2017

Temer's office denied anything illegal took place in a written statement late Wednesday.

Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer says he will fight allegations that he endorsed the paying of hush money to an ex-lawmaker jailed for corruption.

Brazil's stocks and currency tumbled throughout the day.

The center-right president insisted on Brazilian television Thursday that he "will not step down" and "did not buy the silence of anyone".

"I will not resign", he said emphatically.

"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. But it's not making its way to the people: Brazil's economy is still in a recession, the worst unemployment in 20 years, and its stock market fell more than 10 percent after the court opened its investigation into Temer.

(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo). Demonstrators confront police during a protest against Brazil's President Michel Temer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 18, 2017. The court failed to grant prosecutors' requests for a warrant to arrest Neves, who lost the 2014 presidential election to Rousseff by a thin margin.

Mr Neves is being investigated in several corruption cases related to the "Car Wash" probe into kickbacks to politicians. JBS has denied any wrongdoing.

On the news, the Brazilian Bovespa index plunged 10% on opening yesterday and trading was halted for 30 minutes.

Days later, Loures was filmed receiving 500,000 reals (about 148,000 US dollars) in bribes from Batista.

More anti-Temer protests were planned this weekend.

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The scandal started with the revelation in O Globo newspaper on Wednesday that Temer had been been secretly recorded while talking to Joesley Batista, an executive from the meatpacking giant JBS, on March 7. Most likely, he said in statements to Rede Brasil Atual, is that the annulment of the presidential ticket in the TSE puts an end to the mandate of Temer, who was betrayed by an employer for trying to obstruct justice by endorsing the payment of a bribe to the former parliamentary leader Eduardo Cunha in exchange for his silence.

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

Temer's administration has been embroiled in corruption scandals since being installed in power past year, but the Batista tape is perhaps the strongest blow to the stability of the unelected government yet, plunging the already highly unpopular executive deeper into crisis.

Temer's comments came in response to a damning recording implicating him and other politicians in a corruption scheme that has served the heaviest blow to the scandal-plagued administration yet. Temer is reportedly heard on the tape telling Batista, "You've got to keep this up, OK?"

Globo did not release the recordings or say how they were obtained.

At the same time, a massive corruption scandal involving the state oil company Petrobras was unfolding.

Rousseff accused Temer of carrying out a "coup" to impede the Car Wash probe, in which more than 90 leading business and political figures have been convicted so far.

"The president's resignation has become imperative to prevent the crisis from worsening", Carlos Siqueira, president of the Brazilian Socialist Party, a small member of the government coalition, told O Globo.

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

That's how Michel Temer began his address to the nation.

After listening to tape Temer says probe should be shelved