Brazilian president under fire over bribery allegations

There were protests yesterday in Sao Paulo after the story broke

Brazilian president under fire over bribery allegations

Brazil's President Michel Temer speaks during a ceremony celebrating his first year in office | Image: PA images

Brazilian President Michel Temer is facing calls for his resignation after one of the country's leading businessmen implicated him in buying the silence of a colleague jailed over a corruption scandal.

Temer's office on Wednesday acknowledged that he had met in March with the Chairman of meat giant JBS S.A. Joesley Batista, but he denied any part in alleged efforts to keep jailed former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha from testifying.

However, in a secret recording back in March, Joesley Batista can be heard telling Mr Temer about the payments to the former head of the lower house of congress, Eduardo Cunha.

Secret recording 

The news was broken by O Globo newspaper and during the recording when Batista told Temer he was paying Cunha to remain silent, the president said to him "You need to keep that up, okay?"

After the story broke scattered protests sprung up in front of the presidential palace and along Sao Paulo's main avenue as opposition lawmakers and even a high-profile ally called for Temer to step down.

Former speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha orchestrated the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff which gave the presidency to Mr Temer last year.

He was then himself sentenced to 15 years in prison in March for his role in the corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras.

Senator Ronaldo Caiado, leader of the government-allied Democratas party outlined his view on the situation saying "Given the gravity of the situation and the responsibility to keep Brazil from plunging into the imponderable, the only option is for President Michel Temer to resign."

Temer's office said in a statement that he "did not participate in or authorize any activity with the aim of avoiding a plea bargain or collaboration" with Cunha adding that "the president supported a full investigation of the allegations."