Brazil's highest court opened an investigation into President Michel Temer on Thursday, after one of the country's biggest newspapers accused him of paying a former Senate colleague hush money.
"I can't see how Temer survives this", said David Fleischer, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia.
JBS, which grew rapidly under 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule due largely to low-priced loans from Brazil's national development bank, on Thursday said in a statement that seven of its executives, including Batista, had reached plea bargain deals with prosecutors.
Temer has been in office for just over a year.
If Temer is eventually forced to resign or is impeached, Brazil's constitution calls for the leader of the lower house to temporarily take over and for Congress to name a successor within 30 days.
Three people with direct knowledge of the JBS investigation said the O Globo report was accurate. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Brazil's President Michel Temer says he will fight allegations that he endorsed the paying of hush money to an ex-lawmaker jailed for corruption, during a national address at the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, May 18, 2017. Cunha was later imprisoned on a 15-year sentence for corruption.
O Globo newspaper reported that Joesley Batista, chairman of meatpacking giant JBS SA, recorded a conversation with Mr. Temer in which the president indicated Mr. Batista should continue to pay the former legislator, Eduardo Cunha.
It did not say how it obtained the information, or what Mr Cunha was being asked to keep quiet about. The Workers' Party issued a statement also naming five other parties that called for his resignation and snap elections.More news: President Trump: I Didn't Ask Comey to Drop The Flynn Investigation
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Crowds gathered Thursday evening near Rio de Janeiro's Candelaria church, in the city center, carrying signs and flags demanding Temer's ouster.
Maia would have to accept the demand for proceedings to start, made no comment to reporters as he left for an emergency meeting with the government. He is being investigated in several corruption cases related to the "Car Wash" probe into kickbacks to politicians. The accusations against Temer are especially explosive as he has been in power barely a year since the bitter maneuvers to push Rousseff out of office.
She was found guilty by Congress of illegally manipulating the government's accounts to mask the depth of a painful recession. The country's President Michel Temer insists he will not resign despite a probe into potential corruption.
Some Temer allies tried to shore up confidence, but others said his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, was in tatters.
Temer is a master of the Brazilian capital's political maze. He wants to pass labor law reforms and to overhaul the pension system. Because so many politicians here are caught up in this corruption scandal.
Temer's office immediately denied the report, adding that the president supported a full investigation of the allegations.
The O Globo newspaper reported on Wednesday night that Temer met in March with Joesley Batista, chairman of meat company JBS SA (JBSS3.SA), which grew rapidly under 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule due largely to low-priced loans from Brazil's national development bank. "I did not buy anybody's silence".
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".