LAST_UPDATEFri, 22 Jun 2018 11pm

Brazilian President To Sue Businessman For Slander

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 19 -- Brazilian President Michel Temer will sue Joesley Batista, the owner of meatpacking giant JBS, for slander, according to a statement announced Saturday.

Earlier this year, Batista turned over to investigators a recording, in which Temer can allegedly be heard signing off on bribing public officials. This week, in an interview, Batista also described Temer as "the leader of the largest and most dangerous criminal gang in Brazil."

In the statement, the Brazilian president slammed Batista for "unravelling lies" and criticised the interview, published in leading news magazine Veja, for "lack of truth."

"The president will take all the appropriate measures against this man (Batista). On Monday, civil and criminal charges will be pressed against him. His lies are proven and the appropriate financial reparation will be sought for the damages caused, not only to the institution of the Presidency of the Republic, but to Brazil," read the statement.

Temer also took aim at the confession agreement reached by Batista and federal investigators, which led to the Supreme Court opening an investigation against the president for obstruction of justice and passive corruption.

"Mr. Joesley Batista is a famous bandit with the greatest success in Brazilian history. He managed to enrich himself through practices to which he will not respond and now maintains his assets outside the country with the permission of the judiciary," the statement said.

Batista's interview with Veja has revived the scandal around embattled Temer, accusing the president of demanding constant bribes and illegal donations for electoral campaigns.

Batista also pointed the finger at a number of Temer's closest allies, accusing them of being part of a corrupt network.-