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Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Brazil Supreme Court justice approves plea-bargain deal by JBS executives

Brazil Supreme Court justice approves plea-bargain deal by JBS executives

Brazilian President Michel Temer on Wednesday denied participation in a bribery scheme.

Prosecutors have reportedly been provided with recordings in which Joesley Batista, one of the two brothers who run the country's biggest meat-packing company, JBS, tells President Temer he makes payments to the jailed politician Eduardo Cunha to keep him quiet over corruption allegations.

Mr Temer's office says the allegations are false and is calling for them to be thoroughly investigated.

In his statement Thursday, Temer angrily responded to the claim, saying: "I never bought anyone's silence".

"I will not resign, I repeat, I will not resign". Legislators from five opposition parties called for Temer's resignation and early elections, according to a statement sent by the opposition leader in the lower house.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazilian federal police are searching the office and homes of a top senator and presidential contender.

It is the first time Mr Temer has become embroiled in the massive corruption inquiry known as Operation Car Wash. He has denied any wrongdoing but the Supreme Federal Tribunal has suspended him from office indefinitely.

An exchange-traded fund tracking Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index fell more than 8 percent in Tokyo, while American depositary receipts for Petrobras fell as much as 11 percent in after-hours NY trading as investors ditched Brazilian assets at the sight of more political turmoil.

Shares of state-controlled companies, such as Banco do Brasil SA and Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA, or Eletrobras, lost about a fifth of their value, and the nation's currency fell 7.5 percent, wiping out its gains for the year. Both chambers of Congress cancelled sessions and Mr Temer's office axed his planned activities.

The O Globo newspaper reported on Wednesday night that Temer met in March with Joesley Batista, chairman of meat company JBS SA, which grew rapidly under 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule due largely to low-priced loans from Brazil's national development bank.

The allegations would also raise the prospect of potential impeachment for Temer, who served as vice president under former President President Dilma Rousseff.

In a dramatic development, photographs revealing the bribe involving Michel Temer and Aécio Neves were released on Thursday, again, by O Globo.

FILE - In this May 12, 2016 file photo, Brazil's acting President Michel Temer whispers into the ear of Sen.

Batista used a hidden device to record an alleged discussion with Temer about hush money the executive was paying to Cunha, according to the newspaper. Cunha was sentenced in March 2017 to fifteen years in prison for charges of corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion.

The accusations against Mr Temer were made by O Globo newspaper.

"He did not participate or authorize any attempt to keep Cunha from reaching a plea bargain with Justice (officials)", the statement said. Temer's approval ratings are hovering around 10 percent. With several ministers facing corruption allegations, they argue his government is no longer legitimate.

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