Brazil’s Temer Challenges Hush-Money Payoff Recording

Brazil’s Temer Challenges Hush-Money Payoff RecordingBrazil’s Temer Challenges Hush-Money Payoff Recording

Brazilian President Michel Temer on Saturday angrily challenged a recorded conversation implicating him in a corruption probe, saying he would continue as president and ask the Supreme Court to verify the integrity of the recording.

“Brazil will not be derailed,” he said during a speech at the presidential palace, reiterating that he would not resign despite an ongoing investigation by the Supreme Court into allegations he took bribes and condoned the payment of hush money to a jailed congressman, CNBC reported.

Temer, visibly defiant, said he would ask the court to suspend an investigation against him until it could determine whether the recording, made by the chairman of meatpacker JBS SA during a March conversation, was edited afterwards.

The recording, which some local media have said shows signs of editing, is part of plea-bargain testimony by JBS executives that was disclosed this week.

The disclosure rattled Brazilian financial markets, cost Temer key congressional allies and led to widespread calls for his resignation. It also undermined efforts by Temer to pass economic reforms considered crucial to revive Brazil’s economy after its worst recession on record.

In his speech on Saturday, Temer lashed out at Joesley Batista, the JBS chairman, and other company executives, saying they were angry with his conservative government’s austerity plans and efforts to curb the generous public financing of private companies that typified the administrations of his predecessors.

Calling their testimony “riddled with lies”, Temer said there were inconsistencies in the JBS executives’ statements to prosecutors. He also seized upon ongoing investigations by Brazil’s securities regulator, known as the CVM, to question their motivations.

On Friday, the CVM said it was probing recent trades in stock and currency markets that earned JBS’ controlling shareholders windfalls.

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