Health Care

"I Will Not Resign, I Repeat, I Will Not Resign." - Brazilian President

Brazil's highest court opened an investigation into President Michel Temer on Thursday, after one of the country's biggest newspapers accused him of paying a former Senate colleague hush money.

Brazil's securities regulator has launched a probe into currency and stock trades made by executives at meatpacker JBS SA JBSS3.SA after they made plea bargain testimony that suggested Brazil's president had condoned bribery, Valor Econ├┤mico newspaper reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

"At no time did I authorize the paying of anyone", Temer said emphatically, pounding his index finger against the podium.

But Mr Temer hit back in his address, saying: "I never authorised any payments for someone to be silent".

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"I have no doubt that the Temer government is over, and it's impossible to talk about anything getting through Congress now", Mr. Silveira said.

The Supreme Court's decision to make the recordings public was seen by many observers as the last nail on Temer's coffin.

O Globo reported that Batista and his brother, JBS Chief Executive Wesley Batista, presented the recording to prosecutors as part of plea bargain negotiations underway since March.

The country's Bovespa stock index fell in Sao Paulo trading by about 10.5%, forcing a temporary trade stop for stocks.

The Brazilian real slumped 8 percent to 3.38 reais per US dollar, the biggest percentage drop since the currency was devalued in 1999, wiping out its gains in 2017, while bond prices tumbled. Congress cancelled its sessions, including suspending work on legislation that Temer's administration hopes will pull Latin America's largest economy out of its worst recession in decades. And while the U.S. spent much of the day talking about impeachment, in Brazil they actually did it: Rede party deputy Alessandro Molon filed an impeachment request against Temer, according to his press office.

No bone could resist T. Rex's pulverizing bite
The original skull of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton is shown at the Natural History Museum in Berlin, Dec. 16, 2015. They can swallow bones if they are not too large, but are unable to crush them with their teeth.

Leaders of Temer's biggest allied party in Congress, the PSDB, said that if the allegations proved true, they would demand the resignation of three of their members who are in the president's cabinet.

Temer's comments came in response to a damning recording implicating him and other politicians in a corruption scheme that has served the heaviest blow to the scandal-plagued administration yet.

Also on Thursday, federal prosecutor Rodrigo Janot asked the Supreme Court's permission to arrest Senator Aecio Neves on allegations he asked Batista for bribes.

More anti-Temer protests were planned this weekend.

Michel Temer is the ultimate political insider who quietly and ruthlessly worked his way to the summit of Brazil's political pyramid - before finding himself teetering in spectacular fashion. "I know what I have done and I know of the correctness of my actions", Temer said. In recent months, the probe has moved closer to the president and his circle.

Temer's office acknowledged the president had met with Batista, but said the conversation did not "compromise his conduct" as president. Cunha was later imprisoned on a 15-year sentence for corruption.

The O Globo report also details other improprieties by Brazilian businessmen and politicians.

There were protests by several thousand people in Rio de Janeiro and the capital Brasilia which ended in clashes with riot police. Neves, who almost won the presidency in 2014 and planned to run again next year, has denied wrongdoing.

Unelected, Temer quickly became as unpopular as the loathed Rousseff, with approval ratings sinking into single digits.

"All signs point to the end of the government: the opening of inquiry in the Supreme Court, allies abandoning the president, and critical media coverage", said Mauricio Santoro, a political scientist and professor of external relations at Rio de Janeiro State University.


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