Janot files formal corruption charges against Temer

Brazil s Temer defiant ahead of expected corruption charges

Brazil's president dismissed corruption allegations against him as a "soap opera plot" on Tuesday and cast doubt on the motivations of the country's top prosecutor a day after he presented a scathing indictment.

The conservative leader said that executives of the world's biggest meatpacker, JBS SA, who accused him in plea-bargain testimony, did so only to escape jail for their own crimes.

It was Temer's first statement since the charges were officially presented on Monday.

Janot, however, is piling on the pressure and by separating the charges he would make sure that the crisis dragged on, weakening Temer's political base and making two thirds congressional approval for his trial more likely. "I say without fear of being wrong that the accusation is fiction".

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Temer is also under investigation for obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy, and Janot is expected to file those charges in the coming days.

Criminal charges against a sitting president have to be approved by two-thirds of the lower house of Congress.

"I have been charged with taking bribes without ever having received a cent", Temer said in a nationally televised speech. The party is deeply divided, with many members wanting to distance themselves from Temer to improve their re-election chances next year. The Brazilian newspaper O Globo suggests that Temer is facing a significant chance of not completing his term in office, particularly now that Cunha, his political ally, no longer controls the lower chamber.

But PSDB deputy Daniel Coelho said numerous PSDB's 54 deputies could vote against Temer. I know when there are or there are not foundations.

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If that happens, one of Temer's closest allies, lower house speaker Rodrigo Maia would become interim president.

In a further sign of Temer's weakening position, an important figure in his ruling coalition, former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, called Monday for him to step down and help Brazil hold new elections.

Janot's indictment had been widely expected and financial markets mostly met them with a shrug Tuesday. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index was down 0.8% and the local currency slipped 0.6% in late afternoon trading.

Even for Brazilians virtually inured to revelations of corruption among their politicians, the accusations against Temer were shocking, allegedly occurring just this year, three years into the largest corruption investigation the country's history, known as Operation Car Wash. Much of it centers on companies paying billions of dollars in bribes to politicians and executives at state-run enterprises in return for lucrative contracts. "Lawmakers are unwilling to jump the Temer government's ship when there is no clear ship to jump to". More than 90 people have been convicted.

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