Brazil's president denies authorizing payments to silence politician

The paper's website crashed in the hour after the story broke. The new leader should be chosen indirectly by Congress.

Temer's office issued a statement saying: "President Michel Temer never solicited payments to obtain the silence of former deputy Eduardo Cunha".

With the collaboration of the Batista brothers, police used hidden cameras and tracking chips in bags of cash to record a series of bribes to politicians, according to O Globo.

The report said that when Mr Temer was told Mr Cunha was being paid to keep silent, the president responded: "You have to keep that up, all right?"

In 2016, President Dilma Rousseff was impeached, due to the combined efforts of Temer and Cunha.

Cunha was sentenced in March to 15 years in prison for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

Parliamentarians are now calling for Temer's impeachment, while social movements renewed their call for democratic elections.

The Lava Jato investigation has revealed an entrenched and widespread symbiotic relationship between Brazil's largest businesses, particularly construction firms such as Odebrecht SA and agribusiness heavyweights like JBS.

Investigators mounting what's called the "Car Wash" probe have uncovered enormous embezzlement from Petrobras, with scores of politicians accused of taking bribes from executives in exchange for sweetheart contracts with the state-owned oil company.

Mr. Temer, alone, has been safe - until now.

The head of Brazil's top electoral court said on Tuesday that justices would again next month take up a case that could annul the 2014 election on charges of illegal campaign financing and even unseat President Michel Temer. However, the incidents in the reported recordings would seem to lead Brazil into new legal territory: these alleged crimes were committed just weeks ago.

According to the Globo report, the chairman secretly recorded the conversation with Mr Temer and gave it to justice officials as part of plea bargain negotiations.

The tapes are theoretically part of a sealed deposition, but Brazil's political crisis over the past two years has played out in a series of leaks to media.

O Globo's report, which three sources familiar with the matter said was accurate, threatened to pull Temer into a corruption scandal that has already entangled several of his closest allies and advisors.

"These people, like me, when they saw that on the news, they came here spontaneously, because they can't take it any more".

Shortly afterwards, federal lawmakers called for the impeachment of Temer.

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