RIO DE JANEIRO, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Michel Temer on Wednesday denied participation in a bribery scheme.
Earlier Wednesday, O Globo daily published a story detailing how Temer was reportedly caught on tape talking to Joesley Batista, director of meatpacking giant JBS.
According to the daily, in the conversation, Batista tells Temer he is paying a hefty monthly bribe to jailed former head of the House of Representatives Eduardo Cunha in exchange for Cunha's silence. Temer then instructs Batista to "keep paying."
Batista delivered the evidence to the prosecution office and confirmed his testimony to a member of the Supreme Court.
In an official statement, Temer admitted to meeting with Batista, but said he never tried to buy Cunha's silence.
"President Michel Temer has never requested payments to obtain the silence of former Representative Eduardo Cunha. He did not take part or authorize any actions aimed at preventing the former Representative from turning state evidence or collaborating with the court," said the statement.
Before releasing the statement, Temer met with some members of his cabinet: Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha, Secretary-General Moreira Franco, Government Secretary Antonio Imbassahy, Communications Secretary Marcio Freitas and spokesman Alexandre Parola.
The news that Temer may have been compromised in tape is the latest episode of the Brazilian political drama. The Federal Police have been investigating a major corruption scheme in the government and in contracts with private companies for the past three years, and last year President Dilma Rousseff was impeached, in large part thanks to Temer and Cunha's combined efforts.