By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Vowing to continue to fight corruption and illicit activities in his administration, Brazil’s President Michel Temer said on a video message on Monday he will not be intimidated by accusations. President Temer’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against businessman Joesley Batista for calling the President the ‘head of a dangerous criminal organization’.
“We ended (handing out of) favors that benefitted only a few companies. We cut off the practices that allowed criminals to grow in the shadows, and public money to be given with no limits at friendly interest (rates),” President Temer stated on a video message on one of his social media networks.
“A warning to criminals, they will not go unpunished. They will pay what they owe and will be held accountable for their wrongdoing,” added the President.
Although not naming any names, local media reports that Temer’s message was a warning to meat mogul, Joesley Batista. The former CEO of JBS, the world’s largest meat packing company, gave an interview over the weekend to Brazilian newsweekly Epoca where he stated that President Temer ‘heads one of the most dangerous criminal organizations’ in the country.
Temer’s attorneys filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing Batista of slander, defamation and injury. According to the defense, the interview was “disrespectful and frivolous,” and could lead Brazilians to question Temer’s honesty.
“Everyone knows the real objective of the plaintiff (Batista) in lying and accusing the plaintiff the current president of the Republic: to be pardoned for the countless crimes he has committed through a generous plea-bargaining agreement that keeps him free from any accusation, living outside the country with a substantial patrimony,” says the petition filed by the lawyers on Temer’s behalf.
President Temer on Monday started a week-long international visit to Russia and Norway to talk to foreign investors interested in investing in Brazil.