Published: Tue, May 23, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Brazil's top prosecutor accuses President Temer of corruption, obstruction

Brazil's top prosecutor accuses President Temer of corruption, obstruction

A secretly recorded conversation between Temer and a business executive purports to show the president approving payment of hush money to former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, who is in prison after being convicted of bribe-taking. He also reportedly praised the buy-offs of two judges, to thwart a separate investigation.

The Presidential Palace's press officers have requested a copy of the audio from the Supreme Court to compare to the audio released by O Globo as Temer insists he did not agree to or condone any bribery or obstruction of justice.

For Temer, a 76-year-old career politician who was not elected, the fallout could cost him his job.

Brazilian President Michel Temer, facing accusations that he obstructed a major fraud investigation, is to address the nation later on Saturday, a spokesman said. Brazil's security and exchange commission said on Friday it was looking into possible insider trading by JBS, while the company said it manages its exposure to currency and commodities on a careful, daily basis.

The conversation, which was provided to prosecutors as part of a plea bargain with Batista, is now evidence with the Supreme Court. Reuters reported that several inside sources corroborate the story.

The plea-bargain testimony indicates the illegal payments were made to facilitate the company's access to loans from BNDES that date back to 2005.

Batista claims he paid Temer roughly US$1 million in 2010 alone.

Mr Temer has said the footage is authentic, taken from a meeting in March, but he has strongly denied wrongdoing. Activists from across the political spectrum called for large protests this weekend. A conviction would permanently remove him from office. Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, has said that Flynn did discuss his speech with officials at the DIA.

If so, many Brazilians would not be amused.

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The JBS testimony also tainted one other prominent politician - Aecio Neves, a senator. If it indicts Temer, he would have to step down.

Joesley Batista, together with his brother Wesley, entered a plea bargain with Brazilian authorities after JBS was implicated in illicit transactions with state-owned banks and pension funds, reported Bloomberg.

Rousseff was impeached past year on a separate allegations of budget irregularities and was replaced with Temer. Congress would then choose a successor to finish the term.

Opposition parties have demanded his resignation and snap elections.

Despite growing calls for him to go, Mr Temer repeated that he would not quit.

(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 embezzled dollars that politicians use for personal spending actually stems from state companies, among them is mainly Petrobras", said Evandro Carvalho, worldwide law professor at think tank Fundacao Getulio Vargas. Santos began to run alongside two protesters carrying a coffin they designed (according to a sign affixed to the lid), to help "bury" labor reforms that weaken worker protections. In the meantime, the political uncertainty in a drifting country would likely deepen Brazil's worst recession on record.

"At the top of our list is the immediate resignation of the president", Julio Delagado, a PSB deputy, told journalists. "It makes little difference to them: people are still going to eat meat and other JBS products", he said. "Businessmen and politicians offering falsely easy solutions to complex problems are happy to take advantage of this moment".

Globo published what seemed to be pictures showing men delivering a suitcase of cash for Neves, who was suspended Thursday from his position.

"Things are moving quickly in Brazil", said Garcez, the student, "and the next few days will have big consequences for our country's institutions going forward".

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