Economy

Brazil's Growing Corruption Scandal Hits Pro-Business President

Brazil's Growing Corruption Scandal Hits Pro-Business President

Rousseff and Temer are on trial in a case separate from the auto wash investigation, for allegedly accepting illegal donations as part of their 2014 campaign. Neves, who almost won the presidency in 2014 and planned to run again next year, has denied wrongdoing. "We will wait for the release of all those tapes".

There had been growing speculation that Mr Temer might use his televised address to resign.

Four leftist opponents of his center-right government have filed requests to open impeachment proceedings against Temer for obstruction of justice. "I demand a full and quick investigation to clear up (the situation) for the Brazilian people".

In a memo to the Wall Street Journal, Temer's administration denied that it ordered the payments be made.

The statement from Mr Temer's office confirmed that the president did meet with Mr Batista in March.

One of the country's largest newspapers reported on Wednesday evening that a secret recording exists of Temer approving a payment to Eduardo Cunha, the mastermind behind last year's impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff.

Cunha led the impeachment fight that removed Dilma Rousseff from the presidency previous year and put Temer, then the vice president, into power. The Workers' Party issued a statement also naming five other parties that called for his resignation and snap elections.

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Several hundred anti-Temer protesters gathered in São Paulo, while in the capital Brasília motorists honked horns and yelled "Temer out!"

If Temer resigns or is impeached, House of Representatives Speaker Rodrigo Maia will take over as acting President until the presidential election is called.

"We still need more information, but on the face of it there's enough to say that it weakens substantially the government", said Andre Cesar, an independent political analyst.

The scandal is the latest shockwave from the wider "Car Wash" graft probe ripping through Brazilian politics.

Already a Who's Who of the elite has been imprisoned or placed under investigation. The shock hits Brazil just as its markets seemed to be recovering this year from widespread corruption and large public deficits.

She was removed from office accused of illegally manipulating government accounts. Well, since the scandal broke the news, it has been mayhem for Brazil's economy. "Pension reform could take a step back".

Apparently the brothers reached an agreement with prosecutors which involved helping pin down Temer, and powerful coalition leader Aécio Neves, as part of a plea bargain.

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Still, Brazil's strong anti-corruption institutions and the commitment in Brazil to combat corruption at the highest levels have withstood serious tests, strengthening the country.

Cunha was arrested for several counts of corruption previous year, and threatened to tell the authorities what he knew about corruption schemes and bribery in the government.

Temer allegedly told Joesley Batista, the chairman of the JBS meat processing company, to pay former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha for his silence while in jail, according to an O Globo report out Wednesday.

O Globo claimed that Batista told Temer that he was paying money to Cunha to buy his silence.

"You have to keep this up, right?"

Cunha led the impeachment fight that removed Dilma Rousseff from the presidency a year ago and put Temer, then the vice president, into power. On Thursday he denied allegations of corruption and rejected calls for his resignation.

Brazil's Bovespa stock index lost 9 percent, its steepest fall since the 2008 financial crisis, on concerns the probe could derail Temer's fiscal reforms.

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