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Brazil's political mess: what we know so far

Brazil's political mess: what we know so far

In a statement late Wednesday, the president's office denied the allegation.

The statement from Temer's office acknowledges a meeting took place between Temer and Batista, adding "there was no dialogue that could compromise the President of the Republic's conduct".

Temer then allegedly told Batista: "You need to keep that up, okay?" Rousseff was not directly implicated; Temer, however, was accused of participating in the graft. The country's President Michel Temer insists he will not resign despite a probe into potential corruption. Many Brazilians expressed shock on social media when Temer finally spoke Thursday night and said he would stay in power.

Even in this country tired from the constant drip of revelations of a wide-ranging corruption investigation, the incendiary accusation set off a firestorm and Brazil's highest court opened an investigation.

National news outlets like O Globo, Estadao and Valor Economico all reported that the investigation would move forward, though the court itself has refused thus far to comment.

In a terse five-minute speech broadcast nationwide, Temer said he had done nothing wrong, that his presidency was helping turn around Brazil's stalled economy and he welcomed an investigation so that he could prove his innocence.

Since its start three years ago, the "Car Wash" investigation into a kickback scheme at oil giant Petrobras has revealed a scale of corruption that has shocked even the most cynical Brazilians and put several top businessmen and politicians in jail.

Leading politicians and a third of Temer's cabinet have already been caught up in the investigation of systematic bribery in return for political favours and contracts with state-run enterprises.

Temer and Cunha are members of the same party and were previously allies. "I didn't buy anyone's silence".

JBS, which grew rapidly under 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule due largely to low-priced loans from Brazil's national development bank, on Thursday said in a statement that seven of its executives, including Batista, had reached plea bargain deals with prosecutors.

A recording of the alleged conversation was presented to prosecutors by the chairman of JBS, the world's biggest meatpacker, as part of plea bargain negotiations, the O Globo newspaper reported on Wednesday. The Supreme Court suspended Neves from the Senate.

Rousseff was impeached previous year after the Senate found her guilty of breaking budgetary laws amid the swirling corruption investigation - though she herself was not accused of corruption. The Supreme Court approved the plea bargain for Joesley and his brother Wesley Batista on Thursday after the release of the contents of the tape.

If Temer resigns or is impeached, Brazil's constitution calls for Congress to name a successor within 30 days.

Investors have been counting on Temer pushing through the austerity reforms, which include a raising of the minimum retirement age, so that Brazil's bloated public finances can be brought under control.

On Tuesday, a congressional panel backed by Brazil's powerful farm lobby called for the dismantling of the Indian affairs agency Funai.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on indigenous rights and environmental conservation in Brazil said removing the agency would leave Brazil's indigenous tribes unprotected from an advancing agricultural frontier.

"The future will be for soy, corn and sugar cane", said Workers Party lawmaker Nilto Tatto. "This is the same vision that wants to destroy the forests of Brazil".


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