Brazil’s President Michel Temer has insisted he will not resign despite a corruption scandal that appears to implicate him through a recorded conversation.
In a speech to the nation Saturday, Temer said “Brazil will not be derailed” by the corruption case. He said he would ask the country’s high court to suspend the investigation against him until it could verify that the supposedly incriminating recording had not been altered.
Temer contended the recording was “altered and doctored,” and that the country needs him to stay on to usher Brazil though economic reforms.
Brazil’s top prosecutor accused Temer of corruption and obstruction of justice Friday, according to a court filing released by the Supreme Court.
The charges by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot followed the release this week of an audio recording said to show that the president tried to slow or halt a massive corruption investigation known as “Car Wash.”
The secretly recorded conversation, first disclosed by one of Brazil’s most prominent newspapers, O Globo, indicates that Temer approved monthly hush-money payments to a jailed politician, Eduardo Cunha.
Once a powerful member of Temer’s ruling party, Cunha is now in prison for having taken bribes. He is said to have compromising information about other politicians linked to the bribery scandal.
Temer took over as Brazil’s president just one year ago after his leftist predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached, but now his center-right administration is under siege. He faces an investigation by the Supreme Court as well as the potential collapse of his base in Congress, opening the way to impeachment proceedings.
The president denied any wrongdoing in a televised address Thursday and rejected calls for his resignation by thousands of demonstrators in the capital, Brasilia, and in Rio de Janeiro.
Temer’s PMDB party and its coalition partner, the PSDB Social Democrats, are still backing him despite impeachment calls by opposition lawmakers.
In an editorial Friday that recounted the history of the corruption scandal enveloping Temer, O Globo said he “has lost the moral, ethical, political and administrative conditions to continue governing Brazil” and suggested it was time for him to resign.