Brazil leader defiant amid possible charges, mounting woes

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Brazil leader defiant amid possible charges, mounting woes

Brazil's top prosecutor was expected soon to file corruption charges against President Michel Temer but the embattled conservative leader defiantly vowed Monday that nothing can "destroy" him.

Whether Attorney General Rodrigo Janot's formal accusation late Monday pressures Temer to consider resigning - he has insisted he won't and denied any wrongdoing - could depend on the reaction of lawmakers and the markets in Latin America's largest nation in the days and weeks ahead.

The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped exchange-traded fund (EWZ) fell 0.3% after hours, but had outpaced the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) substantively in regular trading Monday with a rise of almost 3%. If it does, Temer could be suspended from office while the case is tried. But they warn that support may wane if congressmen are forced to vote several times to protect Temer - whose popularity is languishing in the single-digits - from trial. Batista gave the secretly recorded tape to prosecutors as part of a plea deal. Reuters reported in May that the billionaire Batista family, which owned roughly 42 percent of JBS, is raising cash to pay the fines and settle allegations that they bribed scores of politicians.

Temer acted "in violation of his duties to the state and to society", Janot wrote, citing "abundant" proof that the president received bribe money. House Speaker Rodrigo Maia, an ally of Temer, would then be president in the interim. Batista also accused Temer and aides of negotiating millions of dollars in illegal donations for his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.

"Nothing will destroy us".

But Temer, in his first comments since arriving back from a trip to Russian Federation and Norway, said that he had no intention to step down.

"There is no Plan B. We have to move forward", said Temer.

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.

Meanwhile, Temer's trip last week to Russian Federation and Norway ended up underscoring the president's problems and Brazil's diminished stature overseas thanks to a steady stream of corruption scandals the last three years.

Temer's latest approval ratings are just seven percent, lower than his deeply unpopular leftist predecessor Dilma Rousseff whom he replaced past year after she was impeached by his center-right congressional allies for breaking budgetary rules.

The Datafolha polling institute showed over the weekend that just 7 percent of those questioned approved of Temer's administration, the worst since the country was embroiled in a crisis of hyper-inflation on the watch of President Jose Sarney.

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