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Brazilian Ex-President Rousseff Calls for Direct Election As Graft Scandal Grows

20 Mai 2017

"President Michel Temer does not believe in the veracity of the declarations" in the recording, his office said.

(AP Photo/Andre Penner). A woman reads a newspaper with a front page headline that reads in Portuguese: "It's the End: Resignation, Removal or Impeachment?" with regards to corruption allegations against Brazil's President Michel Temer, in Sao Paulo, B. The tapes show Temer offering bribe to Cunha to keep his mouth shut about the dirt he knows about his former colleagues.

On Thursday, Temer vowed that he "will not step down" and that he "did not buy the silence of anyone".

In it, Mr Batista says: "I settled everything".

In addition, Temer was also recorded indicating federal deputy Rodrigo Rocha Loures to "solve some issues" for JBS SA.

It was, however, just one piece of evidence Batista has offered prosecutors, with more to be released soon.

The Supreme Federal Tribunal has opened an investigation into the accusations and sent Temer the recordings at his request. It has been interpreted as referring to bribes given to Cunha to make sure that he didn't spill secrets to prosecutors himself.

The huge graft case, dubbed 'Car Wash, ' involves many other politicians accused of bribe-taking.

"Obviously it's too soon to assess the potential implications of events that are still ongoing", IMF Western Hemisphere Department chief Alejandro Werner told reporters.

Temer came to power nine months ago amid revelations that then-President Dilma Rousseff was linked to wider corruption investigations known as the "car wash" scandal, which led to several politicians and high-profile businessmen being arrested or forced to resign. Hordes of people took to the streets shouting slagans against Temer. Activists from across the political spectrum called for large protests this weekend.

Still, concerns about a new political scandal - and the toppling of another president less than a year after the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff - shook Brazil's economy Thursday. But while that may be enough for Temer to avoid a conviction, the episode has left him so damaged that he may be unable to regain the backing of the allies in congress he needs to pass his austerity measures. Stocks and the currency plunged and rumors circulated that Temer would step down. The currency lost 7.5 percent of its value.

Linder also pointed to the 19-year prison sentence for Marcelo Odebrecht, handed down by a Brazilian judge.

The corruption scandals that have polarised Brazil centre on political kickbacks in exchange for firms winning contracts at state-run enterprises, especially at oil company Petrobras.

The embezzlement amounted to billions of dollars, billions that ended up getting accumulated in Swiss bank accounts and was possibly used to fund election campaigns of the ruling Worker's party.

Although Temer was also described overseeing a $40 million bribe in an April plea testimony, he has repeatedly denied involvement in any wrongdoing related to the Car Wash probe.

JBS and its controlling shareholder J&F Investimentos, a sprawling conglomerate led by billionaires Joesley and Wesley Batista, are pressuring prosecutors to accept what would likely be the most lenient of all the plea deals negotiated during a three-year old corruption investigation that has implicated scores of Brazilian politicians and executives.

Temer's office said in a prepared statement that he "did not participate in or authorize any activity with the aim of avoiding a plea bargain or collaboration" by Cunha, adding that the president supported a full investigation of the allegations.

Brazilian Ex-President Rousseff Calls for Direct Election As Graft Scandal Grows