Brazil's Temer said billionaire influenced appointment of finance minister: police

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Michel Temer told billionaire Joesley Batista in a taped conversation that the corruption-ensnared businessman was a major influence on the appointment of Henrique Meirelles as finance minister, the federal police said on Monday. In a previously undisclosed phrase in a March conversation between Temer and Batista, the president tells him that the businessman had "great influence" in Meirelles' appointment. The release of the tape, part of Joesley Batista's plea bargain deal with prosecutors in which he accused the president of receiving bribes, exacerbated a political crisis in Brazil. (Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Sandra Maler)