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Michel Temer States He Will Not Resign; Audio File Regarding Former Congressman Cunha Is Inconclusive

05/19/2017 - 13h45

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FROM SÃO PAULO

On Thursday (the 18th), president Michel Temer (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) stated that he would not be stepping down following a political crisis caused by a conversation that was recorded between him and Joesley Batista - a businessman and co-owner of meat industry giant JBS - and the opening of an investigation into the president's actions.

"I will not step down. I repeat: I will not step down. I know what I did and I know that my actions were correct. I demand a full investigation that can quickly offer explanations to the Brazilian people. This state of uncertainty cannot last any longer", he declared.

The recording of the conversation - which, according to the Federal Prosecution Office of Brazil, establishes that Temer approved of hush money for Eduardo Cunha, a former congressman and president of the lower house of Brazil's congress - was released and is inconclusive. The recordings were declassified by Supreme Court justice Edson Fachin.

In the excerpt in question, Batista says that he did everything he could to "make things square" when referring to issues that were "outstanding" with Cunha. Joesley Batista then summarized his situation by saying "Here's what I've more or less done. I'm on good terms with Eduardo, ok?", at which point Temer approves: "You have to maintain that, okay?". Batista then says: "every month".

Temer and Batista also discussed appointments for economic regulatory agencies such as the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (Cade) and the country's Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM). The businessman also said he had an informant he could count on within the Lava Jato operation.

While the Supreme Court decided to investigate Temer, it also decided to suspend senator Aécio Neves (Brazilian Social Democracy Party). According to prosecutors, the senator requested R$ 2 million (US$ 600 thousand) from the owners of JBS. His sister, Andrea Neves, was arrested.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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