Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

After listening to tape Temer says probe should be shelved

After listening to tape Temer says probe should be shelved

"I can't see how Temer survives this", said David Fletcher of the University of Brasilia.

Shares on Brazil's principal stock market plummeted 10.47 percent in the first minutes after opening Thursday, triggering the so-called automatic "circuit breaker", halting trading for the first time since the global financial meltdown of 2008. Brazil's currency, the real, lost 8 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar.

Organised mainly via social media, the largest protests on Thursday took place in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and the nation's capital, Brasilia, Efe news reported. Neves, who almost won the presidency in 2014 and planned to run again next year, has denied wrongdoing.

The scandal is the latest shockwave from the wider "Car Wash" graft probe ripping through Brazilian politics, involving vast bribes and embezzlement.

The tape, reported by O Globo Wednesday evening, revealed that Temer had given his blessing to hefty bribes in the name of keeping a key witness, Eduardo Cunha, quiet in the country's largest-ever corruption investigation.

However, the veteran center-right politician, who took over past year with a promise to restore Brazil's stability after the impeachment of leftist president Dilma Rousseff, came out swinging. Cunha was later imprisoned on a 15-year sentence for corruption. In that sense and in dialogue with Red Brasil Actual, the former president of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) Roberto Amaral stressed that "from the moment that Temer became expendable he was destroyed.' The same forces led by Globo system and the articulation between the Judiciary and the Public Prosecutor that overthrew President Dilma now make Temer's requiem, he said".

A major newspaper in Brazil, O Globo, is reporting that Temer was caught on tape discussing bribery payments.

Markets Right Now: Stocks recover ground a day after slump
USA e-commerce sales surged 63% in the first quarter, including sales from Jet.com Inc. and other recent e-commerce acquisitions. On the other hand, president and CEO, Walmart eCommerce U.S., said, "Customers are placing more repeat orders and spending more".

JBS representatives did not respond to an email sent by The Associated Press late Wednesday seeking comment. Since launching three years ago, the "Car Wash" probe into billions of dollars in kickbacks has put several top businessmen and politicians in jail. ELECTORAL COURT RULING The biggest threat to Temer's survival could be a ruling by Brazil's top electoral court, known as the TSE, annulling the results of the 2014 election won by the Rousseff-Temer ticket for the use of illegal funds in the campaign.

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

Following Globo's report, Thursday began in a panic. "If the evidence is confirmed then we will ask our (ministers) to leave the government", lower house deputy Ricardo Tripoli, a party leader, said.

The Eurasia risk consultancy said the new allegation threatens Temer.

Security around the Palacio do Planalto, the seat of Brazil's presidency, was reinforced Thursday. The Supreme Federal Tribunal suspended Neves from office indefinitely. He also demanded "a full and very rapid investigation for the..." If he does hang on, he will have to do it with a shrinking coalition in Congress, single-digit popularity ratings and street protests.

Optimists, including Temer himself, had been heralding a recovery following small signs of a return to growth recorded earlier in the week, gains that are now in jeopardy. His administration has lurched from one crisis to another since he took office just over a year ago. Federal police did, however, arrest both his sister and his cousin in Belo Horizonte for their role in taking the money from the meatpacking executive.

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