Thursday, 18 May 2017

Michel Temer: Brazil president 'won't quit' over bribe claim

Brazilian President Michel Temer says he will not quit amid allegations he authorised paying bribes to silence a witness in a huge corruption scandal.

"I will not resign. I know what I have done," he said in a televised address.

Earlier, the Supreme Court approved an investigation into the allegations, but Mr Temer said he would prove his innocence.

Mr Temer took over office last year after the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

O Globo newspaper said Mr Temer had been recorded discussing payments to silence the jailed former Speaker Eduardo Cunha.

The recording is of a conversation between the president and Chairman Joesley Batista of meat giant JBS, made by Mr Batista using a hidden device, O Globo says.

When Mr Batista told Mr Temer he was paying Cunha to remain silent, the president was recorded saying, "You need to keep that up, okay?" the newspaper reported.

But Mr Temer hit back in his address, saying: "I never authorised any payments for someone to be silent. I did not buy anyone's silence. I fear no accusations."

Opponents have demanded he step down and even allies in his coalition government have said they were considering leaving the administration.

The allegations have also rattled Brazilian markets, with investors concerned that if Mr Temer is forced out his economic reform plans would be derailed.

Stocks plunged more than 10% at the start of the day, temporarily halting trading.

BBC      News.