On March 7 at around 10:30 p.m., businessman Joesley Batista entered the Brazilian presidential palace to meet with Michel Temer. Hidden in his pocket was a voice-recorder, according to O Globo.
The conversation between the president and Batista, chairman of meatpacking giant JBS SA, lasted for roughly 40 minutes.
Batista told Temer that he was providing monthly payments to Eduardo Cunha, former speaker of the lower house of representatives, and Lucio Funaro so that they would remain silent about dozens of embarrassing secrets.
According to Batista, Temer appeared to be satisfied with what was said, lowered his voice, and purportedly said, "Look, you've got to keep that up."
The paper reported that Batista and his brother, Chief Executive Wesley Batista, presented the recording to prosecutors as part of plea bargain negotiations, adding that JBS also hired a law firm to discuss a leniency deal with the U.S. Department of Justice. The recording will be aired later tonight by the largest news organization in Brazil.
In a press statement released tonight, Temer denied the allegations, saying that he did not ask for or authorize payments to Cunha.
The taped recording also implicates Aecio Neves, a senator and former presidential candidate, for demanding 2 million reais. The money was intended to pay for the senator's defense in the ongoing "Car Wash" scandal investigations. The most alarming fact about the request is that, according to O Globo, Neves' suggests that the person receiving the money should be eliminated physically. “It must be the type that we kill before they blow the whistle,” he is reported to have said on the recording.
Alessandro Molon, a Brazilian politician and member of the Sustainability Network, has presented an impeachment request for Michel Temer. Brazil's parliament will have to decide to accept the request.
Thousands of Brazilians have taken to the streets to demand Temer's ouster and immediate elections. The Workers' Party, Youth Uprising, the Popular Front of Brazil and other social movements have all called for protests.
Brazil's Supreme Court President Carmen Lucia is evaluating if an extraordinary congressional session should be convened to determine if Temer and Neves should be imprisoned for obstruction of justice.