Sunday, 28 May, 2017

Brazil crisis deepens with probe of president, top senator

U.S. Treasury Department Imposes Sanctions On Venezuelan Supreme Court US imposes sanctions on Venezuela Supreme Court
Jacquelyn Byrd | 19 May, 2017, 19:33

The panic selling in the financial capital of Sao Paulo was driven by the dramatic intensification of the country's political crisis, with both President Michel Temer and his principal political ally, Senator Aecio Neves, leader of the right-wing PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party), directly implicated in the protracted Operation Car Wash corruption scandal.

Instead, the embattled leader remained defiant in a national address to respond to allegations he was recorded endorsing payments to former lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha.

That leaves impeachment proceedings as the most likely avenue to remove Temer from power, just like a year ago when Rousseff was stripped of her office and Temer, her vice president, automatically got the top job.

Officers could be seen entering Neves' property in Rio de Janeiro and his sister Andrea was arrested in Belo Horizonte.

Neves is being investigated in several corruption cases related to the "Car Wash" probe into kickbacks to politicians. Temer denied guilt, but both his rivals and some of his supporters called for him to step down.

O Globo newspaper reported that Joesley Batista, chairman of meatpacking giant JBS SA, recorded a conversation with Mr. Temer in which the president indicated Mr. Batista should continue to pay the former legislator, Eduardo Cunha.

The protests materialised hours after Brazil's Supreme Court authorised an investigation into allegations Temer encouraged the payment of bribes to a former top lawmaker convicted earlier this year of graft.

Despite all the calls for his head, the veteran centre-right politician - who took over a year ago after the impeachment of leftist president Dilma Rousseff - came out swinging. Temer will try to stem the flow, especially with his PMDB party's main partners, the PSDB.

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

"He did not participate or authorize any attempt to keep Cunha from reaching a plea bargain with Justice (officials)", the statement said.

Rousseff and her leftist allies accuse him of having engineered her impeachment and his own rise to power previous year in what they say amounted to a coup d'etat.

19 de mayo de 2017, 09:38Brasilia, May 19 (Prensa Latina) Brazilian President Michel Temer, haunted by the biggest political scandal that has shaken Brazil, is clinging to a mandate that experts here consider is closed to its expiration date: June 6. 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.

"This climate isn't one in which to work", Rodrigo Maia, president of the lower chamber, told Globo News after adjourning legislators.

"There are parties leaving his base, ministers leaving the Cabinet".

Globo's reports are the latest in numerous scandals that have plagued Temer, whose approval ratings are hovering around 10 percent.

The Eurasia risk consultancy said the new allegation threatens Temer.

"According to Globo, police also have audio and video evidence that Temer's aide Rocha Loures negotiated bribes worth 500,000 [reals] (US$160,000) a week for 20 years in return for helping JBS overcome a problem with the fair trade office". Queiroz said that after that denunciation, Temer is pressured by society - on the ethical side - and also by the market that was supporting the government, because he is no longer able to offer what he promised.

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