Brazil leader denies report he endorsed bribing ex-lawmaker

  • Brazil leader denies report he endorsed bribing ex-lawmaker

Brazil leader denies report he endorsed bribing ex-lawmaker

The crisis underscored the extent to which Brazil's political agenda is being dictated by an increasingly fearless generation of corruption-fighting police and prosecutors. Crowds also gathered outside the presidential palace chanting "Fora Temer" (Temer out).

"Given the gravity of the situation and the responsibility to keep Brazil from plunging into the imponderable, the only option is for President Michel Temer to resign", said Sen. He has denied wrongdoing.

Temer is denying a report that he endorsed the alleged bribing of a jailed former congressman to keep him quiet.

According to the report, Batista secretly recorded the conversation where Temer is heard telling him to bribe Eduardo Cunha, the former president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, who orchestrated Dilma Rousseff's impeachment and is now serving a 15-year jail term for his involvement in a corruption scam. Stocks and the currency plunged and rumors circulated that Temer would step down.

"I will not resign", he announced emphatically in a brief televised statement to the nation.

The allegations have sent shockwaves across the country and one politician has already filed an impeachment request against the president, the BBC's Julia Carneiro reports from Brazil.

"I can't see how Temer survives this", said David Fleischer, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia. Last October, Cunha was arrested in Brazil on accusations that he had more than $40 million worth of bribery money stashed away in secret bank accounts, among other charges.

Officers in the southern city of Curitiba searched the home of federal deputy Rodrido Rocha Loures, a longtime confidant of Temer and a member of the president's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB. JBS was the biggest campaign donor that year for the re-election of Dilma Rousseff, as well as for the loser in the presidential race, Aecio Neves.

The scandal is the latest shockwave from the "Car Wash" graft probe ripping through Brazilian politics. The Supreme Federal Tribunal suspended Neves from office indefinitely.

The Ibovespa stocks index closed 8.8% lower, after dropping 10.5% shortly after the open and tripping a circuit breaker that temporarily halted trading.

The news sent the U.S. dollar rocketing by 7.20% to 3.37 against Brazil's currency unit, the real, as of 1236 BST, after triggering circuit breakers. Both chambers of Congress cancelled sessions and Temer's office canceled his planned activities.

During the meeting, the report said, Batista recorded himself telling Temer that he was paying money to disgraced ex-speaker of the lower house Eduardo Cunha to buy his silence.

O Globo also reported that security forces allegedly have audio and video proof that Temer aide Rocha Loures received weekly $160,000 payoffs for decades, supposedly for having helped JBS deal with a fair trade issue.

An unpopular president who ascended to the job after Dilma Rousseff was impeached, Temer's legitimacy rested on his ability to unite Brazil's three dozen political parties.

Cunha led the impeachment fight that removed Dilma Rousseff from the presidency past year and put Temer, then the vice president, into power.

The Globo report said Temer was recorded in March endorsing the payment of a bribe to Cunha.

According to Batista, Temer appeared to be satisfied with what was said, lowered his voice, and purportedly said, "Look, you've got to keep that up".

In a dramatic development, photographs revealing the bribe involving Michel Temer and Aécio Neves were released on Thursday, again, by O Globo. JBS representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment.