Illegal payments from JBS chairman denied by Brazil's president

by Erica Shaffer
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Temer vows not to resign in the face of allegations.
 
BRASILIA – Joesley Batista, chairman of JBS SA, the world’s largest meat packer, admitted making illegal payments to Michel Temer, the current president of Brazil, and former Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, according to published news reports. Batista made the admission in court documents released by Brazil’s Supreme Court.

On May 18, JBS SA issued a statement saying that seven executives of the company agreed to a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in addition to paying a fine of R$225 million. The meat packer’s major stakeholder, J&F Investimentos issued a statement confirming that undercover recordings taken by Joesley Batista were handed over to prosecutors as part of the agreement.

Meanwhile, President Temer took the podium to rail against allegations he accepted illegal payments from Batista. And in a statement posted to the Brazil government’s website, Temer said he never authorized “…the undue use of his name or suggested that anyone should be prevented from speaking out.” He added that the recordings had been edited.

“The revelations of clandestinely recorded talks brought back the haunting image of a political crisis whose proportions have yet to be sized,” Temer said. “Therefore, the immense efforts to lift the country from the biggest recession in its history is now at risk of being rendered fruitless. And we cannot throw so much work done for the country in the garbage bin of history.”

Temer vowed to fight the allegations against him and to continue to serve as president of Brazil. “I will not resign. I repeat, I will not resign!,” he said. “I know what I have done, and I know of the integrity of my acts.”

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