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updated: 5/19/2017 12:58 PM

The Latest: New claim of payments to Brazil ex-leader

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  • A demonstrator carries a sign that reads in Portuguese "Get out Temer" to protest Brazilian President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, May 18, 2017. Brazil's political crisis deepened sharply on Thursday with corruption allegations that threatened to topple the president, undermine reforms aimed at pulling the economy from recession and leave Latin America's largest nation rudderless.

    A demonstrator carries a sign that reads in Portuguese "Get out Temer" to protest Brazilian President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, May 18, 2017. Brazil's political crisis deepened sharply on Thursday with corruption allegations that threatened to topple the president, undermine reforms aimed at pulling the economy from recession and leave Latin America's largest nation rudderless.
    Associated Press

 
 

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The Latest on Brazil's political crisis (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

The owner of a major meatpacker has told Brazilian authorities that he transferred $150 million to offshore accounts for campaigns of former Brazilian Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

JBS company owner Joesley Batista says in a plea bargain testimony released Friday that former Finance Minister Guido Mantega was the middleman in the operation to channel illegal funds for both politicians.

Batista also said both former presidents were aware of the transfers, but did not name where those accounts were based. Batista also didn't state for which campaigns the money was transferred.

Rousseff denied the accusations in a statement and said she never had offshore bank accounts. Silva's spokesman said Batista's accusations are hearsay that was never investigated.

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2:55 p.m.

Brazil's top prosecutor is accusing President Michel Temer of corruption and obstruction of justice.

That's according to an investigation released by the country's Supreme Court on Friday. Attorney General Rodrigo Janot's charges against the president represent an extraordinary escalation of a corruption probe that is upending politics and just about everything else in Latin America's largest nation.

The formal accusations are the latest revelations related to a secretly recorded audio that purportedly captured Temer endorsing the paying of hush money to an ex-lawmaker.

The audio first reported by Globo newspaper Wednesday night, and has been rocking the country since.

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