Brazil's Temer: 'I won't resign' amid corruption allegations

Brazil's Temer: 'I won't resign' amid corruption allegations

Brazil's real, stocks and bonds tumbled as a fresh political crisis ensnared President Michel Temer and threatened to derail an agenda created to pull Latin America's largest economy out of its deepest recession on record.

It was the first appearance since the Globo newspaper published a report Wednesday night that Temer was recorded supporting payments to former Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha.

"I can't see how Temer survives this", said David Fletcher of the University of Brasilia. And so when the news came out, some people took to the streets to protest and to call for him to go.

The U.S. dollar closed at R$3.38/US$1, registering on Thursday the highest daily increase in eighteen years, while the IBOVESPA Index at the São Paulo's stock market registered its greatest daily loss since 2008.

Meanwhile, Brazil's Supreme Court suspended Aecio Neves from his Senate seat Thursday as federal police raided his multiple homes in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia.

Mr. Cunha was convicted this year of money laundering and corruption as part of the Operation Car Wash anticorruption probe. Loures is accused of receiving bribes on behalf of Temer, which he denies.

Earlier on Thursday, the Federal Supreme Court approved an investigation into the president over the wiretap evidence, Brazil's O Globo reported. The paper says it's found out that there's a secret recording in which Temer is heard endorsing bribes to buy the silence of a former political ally.

The hush money allegations left Temer teetering barely a year after he took power in controversial circumstances, replacing his impeached predecessor, leftist president Dilma Rousseff. In a statement late on Wednesday, the president's office said Mr Temer did not participate or authorise any attempt to keep Cunha from reaching a plea bargain with justice officials.

Putin willing to hand over transcript of Russian official's meeting with Trump
Trump made the decision to fire Comey only after receiving the recommendation from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He accused Trump's detractors of suffering from "political schizophrenia".

Temer's office acknowledged the president had met with Batista, but said the conversation did not "compromise his conduct" as president.

Less than a year later, Brazil is gearing up for another presidential corruption scandal, this one focused on Michel Temer, Dilma's vice president before succeeding her.

"This certainly makes approval of the reforms more hard", Senator Valdir Raupp, a close ally to Temer, told Reuters.

And, political scientists expressed doubts Thursday over Temer's future tenure. Batista has been under investigation for his company's alleged involvement in a corruption scheme aimed at getting special financial favors from the country's state-owned national development bank, BNDES.

It remained unclear whether Mr Temer's defiance will be enough, with cracks growing in the ruling coalition, which is centered on Mr Temer's PMDB party and the PSDB Social Democrats, along with a coalition of smaller parties. Both chambers of Congress cancelled sessions and Mr Temer's office axed his planned activities. But the big question facing Brazil right now is when they do come to choose their next political leaders, who will that be? The speaker of the lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia, who is next in line of succession due to the absence of a vice president, would take over until Congress elects a new president within 30 days to lead the country until the end of next year.

Dozens of leading lawmakers and a third of President Temer's cabinet are under investigation over billions in political kickbacks paid by Brazil's biggest construction companies in exchange for contracts at state-run oil producer Petrobras and other government enterprises.

If the allegations are proven true, "President Temer is unlikely to finish his term", Eurasia wrote, adding that at the very least the matter will delay major reforms Temer is proposing.

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