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BRASILIA, June 17 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Michel Temer denied allegations made by a billionaire business in a magazine interview published on Saturday that he led a corruption scheme in which politicians squeezed high-profile executives for bribes, and vowed to sue the businessman.
In a statement, Temer's office said he will take "all appropriate actions" against billionaire businessman Joesley Batista, who told Época magazine that the 77-year-old politician has run a bribe-for-favors scheme at the government since 2010. The statement said that Temer's lawyers will file civil and criminal lawsuits against Batista as early as Monday.
In his first interview since striking a leniency agreement with Brazilian prosecutors, Batista told Época that Temer asked for money several times since 2010, as he led a group of senior politicians regularly demanding kickbacks in exchange for political favors.
Press representatives for Batista and his family's investment holding company, J&F Investimentos SA, were not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Bruno Federowski; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Leslie Adler)