Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Brazil's president accused of bribery

Brazil's president accused of bribery

Leaders of Temer's top allied party in Congress, the PSDB, said that if the allegations proved true, they would demand that three of their members who are in the president's cabinet resign. "I know what I have done", he said in a televised address.

The scandal is the latest shockwave from the wider "Car Wash" graft probe ripping through Brazilian politics.

The Supreme Federal Tribunal has opened an investigation into the accusation against Temer and lifted the seal on the recording. I repeat: "I will not resign", he announced angrily, wagging his finger, in a brief but televised statement to the nation.

Some Temer allies tried to shore up confidence, but others said his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, was in tatters.

Late Wednesday, Globo newspaper reported that Neves was recorded asking JBS meat-packing company executive Joesley Batista for $700,000 to pay for his "Car Wash" defense.

Temer, who took over after the impeachment past year of Dilma Rousseff, was reported late Wednesday by O Globo newspaper to have been secretly recorded agreeing to payments of hush money to Eduardo Cunha, the disgraced former speaker of the lower house of Congress.

"Temer out!" chanted several thousand protesters in Rio, also calling for snap elections.

Asian stocks reversed early losses to end mixed on Friday as better-than-expected USA economic data and higher oil prices offset concerns surrounding deepening political turmoil in Washington and the Brazilian political crisis.

Brazilian markets slumped on concerns that the investigation could derail Temer's economic and fiscal agenda.

The U.S. currency on Thursday gained 8.06 percent against the Brazilian real, which posted the highest losses since the country devalued its currency in 1999.

Temer has denied any wrongdoing and on Thursday refused to resign.

JBS, which grew rapidly under 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule due largely to low-priced loans from Brazil's national development bank, on Thursday said in a statement that seven of its executives, including Batista, had reached plea bargain deals with prosecutors. Cunha has been convicted and jailed in the sprawling corruption probe into kickbacks at the state-run oil giant Petrobras, but many believe he could still give damning testimony about dozens of politicians.

President Temer, whose government has a 9% approval rating, had already been named in plea bargain testimony for negotiating millions in illegal campaign funding, which he denies.

The New Zealand dollar fell, and is heading for a 0.4 percent weekly decline, as a scandal surrounding Brazil's President Michel Temer took the spotlight off US President Donald Trump and US data printed strong enough to keep intact bets on a US rate hike next month.

If Temer resigns or is impeached, Brazil's constitution calls for the lower house leader to temporarily take over and for Congress to name a successor within 30 days.

But with so many lawmakers under investigation for corruption, there are widespread calls for the constitution to be changed to allow for direct elections immediately.

Also on Thursday, federal prosecutor Rodrigo Janot asked the Supreme Court's permission to arrest Senator Aecio Neves on allegations he asked Batista for bribes. The Supreme Court suspended Neves from the Senate.

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