Michel Temer: Brazil president ‘won’t quit’ over bribe claim


Brazilian President Michel Temer says he will not quit, amid allegations he authorised paying bribes to silence a witness in a huge corruption scandal.
«I will not resign. I know what I have done,» he said in a televised address.
Earlier, the Supreme Court approved an investigation into the allegations, but Mr Temer said he would prove his innocence.
Mr Temer took over office last year after the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff.
What is he accused of?
O Globo newspaper said Mr Temer had been recorded discussing payments to silence the jailed former Speaker Eduardo Cunha.
The recording is of a conversation between the president and Chairman Joesley Batista of meat giant JBS, made by Mr Batista using a hidden device, O Globo says.
When Mr Batista told Mr Temer he was paying Cunha to remain silent, the president was recorded saying, «You need to keep that up, okay?» the newspaper reported.
It did not say how it obtained the information, or what Mr Cunha was being asked to keep quiet about.
But Mr Temer hit back in his address, saying: «I never authorised any payments for someone to be silent. I did not buy anyone’s silence. I fear no accusations.»
Can he survive?
Mr Temer is already deeply unpopular in Brazil but his centre-right party has been able to govern as part of a coalition.
Opposition parties have been demanding snap elections and his impeachment.
Of more concern to Mr Temer may be signs of dissent within his administration, with a leader of his coalition allies, the social democrat PSDB, saying they were considering leaving the government.
Brazilians protest against President Michel Temer, holding up a sign reading

The allegations have rattled Brazilian markets, with investors concerned that if Mr Temer is forced out his efforts to pull the economy out of recession would be derailed.
The main Sao Paulo share index closed down 9% and the Brazilian currency suffered its worst day in 14 years.
What’s the wider picture?
It is the first time Mr Temer has become embroiled in the massive corruption inquiry known as Operation Car Wash.
The probe, launched in March 2014, centres on companies that were offered deals with state oil giant Petrobras in exchange for bribes, which were funnelled into politicians’ pockets and political party slush funds.
The scandal has engulfed Brazilian politics, with a third of Mr Temer’s cabinet under investigation for alleged corruption. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is facing five charges.
The man Mr Temer allegedly condoned the bribery of – Eduardo Cunha – is in prison for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.
Both men played a key role in the downfall of former President Rousseff, who was removed from office accused of illegally manipulating government accounts. She denies all the charges.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email