Brazil’s leader de­cries in­crim­i­nat­ing au­dio

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NEWS / FROM PAGE ONE -

RIO DE JANEIRO >> Fight­ing to save his job amid a mush­room­ing cor­rup­tion scan­dal, Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer told the na­tion Satur­day that an in­crim­i­nat­ing au­dio record­ing of him had been doc­tored.

“That clan­des­tine record­ing was ma­nip­u­lated and doc­tored with (bad) in­ten­tions,” Te­mer said at a news con­fer­ence in cap­i­tal of Brasilia. Te­mer said he had filed a pe­ti­tion with the Supreme Fed­eral Tri­bunal, the coun­try’s high­est court, to sus­pend the cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion into him un­til ex­perts can an­a­lyze the au­dio that ap­pears to show him en­dorse the pay­ment of bribes to ex-House Speaker Ed­uardo Cunha for his si­lence.

It’s un­likely the court would do that, as it au­tho­rized the open­ing of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Te­mer in the first place and or­dered it made public.

Te­mer noted that the Folha de S. Paulo news­pa­per re­ported that the 39-minute record­ing had been edited. The au­dio was first re­ported by Globo news­pa­per on Wednes­day.

Te­mer also ques­tioned the mo­tives of the man who made the record­ing, JBS meat­pack­ing com­pany ex­ec­u­tive Joes­ley Batista. He ac­cused Batista of buy­ing “large quan­ti­ties of dol­lars to cause chaos on the ex­change mar­ket” be­fore giv­ing the tape to pros­e­cu­tors. Te­mer’s claims about the au­dio and Batista couldn’t be im­me­di­ately ver­i­fied. In the au­dio, Te­mer ap­par­ently en­dorses bribes for Cunha, who is serv­ing a 15-year prison sen­tence for cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing and who led the im­peach­ment push against Pres­i­dent Dilma Rouss­eff last year.

Rouss­eff was even­tu­ally ousted for il­le­gally man­ag­ing the fed­eral bud­get, bring­ing Te­mer, who was her vice pres­i­dent, to power.

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