Brazilian Federal Police have released extracts of covert recordings made during a meeting held in early March 2017 between Joesley Batista and Michel Temer, Brazil’s President, in which, allegedly, Temer tells Batista to keep up with cash payments in order to keep Eduardo Cunha, a former speaker of Congress currently in jail, silent regarding corruption secrets. Other recent taped pay-offs, includes former opposition leaders such as Brazilian Senator Aécio Neves, who asked JBS for a R$2 million payment (US$593,400) in cash in a plea-bargaining agreement.

After signing a plea bargain deal with the Federal Police under the national investigation named “Operation Car Wash” (Lava Jato), Batista attended these meetings equipped with audio recording equipment, which was then handed over to the investigating authorities. According to Batista, Neves, who has been suspended from his functions and had his passport confiscated, would use the money to pay for his defence in the Lava Jato investigations. As for Temer, the Brazilian President denies any wrongdoing and refuses to step down from office, despite hundreds of angry Brazilian’s protesting on the streets across the country.

In an open letter addressed to the Brazilian people on May 18, Joesley Batista presents his excuses for having paid illicit money to public authorities and admits they have done a “mistake” for which there is no “justification”. “We did not honour our values ​​when we had to interact, at various times, with the Brazilian public power. And we’re not proud of that. Our business spirit and great motivation to get things done, when confronted with a Brazilian system that makes it difficult to sell facilities, has led us to opt for payments to public agents”, he said.

JBS shares were trading around 9.7% lower on May 18, while the U.S. dollar gained 8.06% against the Brazilian real.

Source: Globo News