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Brazil president allows investigation against him

May 23, 2017

President Temer has allowed an investigation against him for corruption by the Supreme Court to go ahead. However, even as nationwide protests continue to grow, Temer has refused to step down.

Brasilien - Korruptionsskandal - Präsident Michel Temer
Image: Getty Images/AFP/E. SA

Brazil's president Michel Temer has withdrawn his objection to a corruption investigation against him, with his lawyers saying he wants to clear up the controversy as quickly as possible. At the same time, Temer warned opponents he would not go down without a fight.

"Oust me if you want. But if I step down, I would be admitting guilt," Temer said in an interview published in the Brazilian Folha de S.Paulo newspaper.

The scandal erupted last week when the Globo newspaper revealed a secret audio recording in which an executive from meat-packing giant JBS can allegedly be heard getting the president's approval for paying hush money to a politician imprisoned for corruption. Former parliamentary speaker Eduardo Cunha was a witness in a massive corruption scandal that threatened Temer's ruling coalition. Cunha had also helped orchestrate the impeachment and removal from office of former President Dilma Rousseff last year.

Confident that the recording was doctored and would not be considered as evidence, Temer's lawyer has said he would allow the court to go ahead with its corruption investigation against him.

Allowing the investigations to go ahead could cause problems for his coalition, however, as the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) had called for a pause in the case as a condition for staying on as coalition partners.

Party officials said on Monday the PSDB would wait until whether the Supreme Court would continue to investigate Temer.

Despite widespread calls for his resignation amid the scandal, Temer refused to step aside, saying that he "didn't buy anyone's silence and that "Brazil [would] not be derailed."

smm/rt (AFP, dpa)