Brazil's president denies authorizing payments to silence politician

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As part of the investigation, "controlled actions" - recorded conversations and exchanges of money which were tracked by federal police - were carried out. Aecio Neves' home in Rio de Janeiro and his Brasilia office are fallout from a widespread corruption investigation that has also reached President Michel Temer. According to Globo, federal police filmed the payment to the senator's cousin. Brazilians, however, are overwhelmingly opposed to his austerity measures and the president's approval rating hovers at around 10 per cent.

In a press statement released tonight, Temer denied the allegations, saying that he did not ask for or authorize payments to Cunha.

Angry crowds and outraged members of Brazil's congress have demanded the impeachment of President Michel Temer following reports he was secretly recorded discussing hush money pay-offs to a jailed associate. "I know what I have done", he said, according to a BBC translation.

"I will not resign", he said.

The report has rocked the country, sparking spontaneous protests against Mr. Temer in some cities and spurring calls from opposition politicians for his impeachment or resignation. The columnist who reported the bombshell claims clarified today that he had not personally heard the recording but had had it described to him "in the most detail possible".

The searches of Sen. Among those named are senator Aécio Neves, who was defeated by Ms Rousseff in 2014's bitter presidential election and who is now a close ally of Mr Temer.

The scandal is the latest shockwave from the "Car Wash" graft probe ripping through Brazilian politics. Temer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Local media reported that the Supreme Court had suspended him from office and was to rule on a request from the prosecutor general for his arrest.

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Brazil's Bovespa stock index lost 9 percent, its steepest fall since the 2008 financial crisis, on concerns the investigation could derail Temer's sweeping fiscal reforms.

In a fortnight Mr Temer was about to start pushing his economic reform plan through Congress.

Globo's report had an immediate impact.

In a statement, the president's office said Temer never solicited payments to keep former Speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha silent. JBS declined to comment immediately.

Temer told reporters he will not resign shortly after state-run news agency Agencia Brasil reported the news of the Supreme Court inquiry.

Even in this country tired from the constant drip of revelations of a wide-ranging corruption investigation, the incendiary accusation set off a firestorm and Brazil's highest court opened an investigation. Since launching three years ago, the "Car Wash" probe into billions of dollars in kickbacks has put several top businessmen and politicians in jail.

"This climate isn't one in which to work", Rodrigo Maia, president of the lower chamber, told Globo News. If the tapes prove to show what O Globo columnist Lauro Jardim has reported in his explosive story, it raises serious questions about Mr. Temer's ability to hold the office until his term ends in late 2018.

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