Monday, Brazilian President Michel Temer will not step down even if formally indicted by the Supreme Court, he said in an interview in Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper.
A three-year-long corruption investigation has reached a peak with the disclosure last week of a recording that appears to show Temer “condoning the payment of hush money to a jailed lawmaker,” Reuters reports.
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The Supreme Court has opened an investigation into the revelations that were part of plea bargain testimony by the billionaire owners of meatpacking giant JBS SA (JBSS3.SA).
The court is expected to decide on Wednesday whether to suspend the investigation at Temer’s request until it can be determined if the recording was manipulated to implicate him.
“I will not resign. Oust me if you want, but if I stepped down, I would be admitting guilt,” said Temer, who has said the recording of his meeting with JBS chairman Joesley Batista was doctored.
The scandal has threatened to tear apart Temer’s coalition in Congress and leave Latin America’s largest economy adrift as the president fights for his political survival, just a year after the impeachment of his predecessor.
Temer alleged that the recording is not proof of wrongdoing and that he did not report the references of bribery because he did not believe them to be true.