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BRASÍLIA, Brazil – Brazil’s chief prosecutor asked the Supreme Court Monday, May 2, to authorize a corruption investigation of opposition leader Aecio Neves, one of embattled President Dilma Rousseff’s top rivals.
Chief prosecutor Rodrigo Janot wants to investigate Neves over allegations he took bribes from a corruption scheme at a state electric company, a case linked to a wider scandal centered on state oil giant Petrobras that is also hurting Rousseff’s political future, an adviser to the prosecutor told Agence France-Presse.
The case stems from accusations by Senator Delcidio do Amaral, who agreed to cooperate with investigators after being arrested in the Petrobras probe.
He said Neves received bribes from a corruption scheme at electric company Furnas that allegedly worked in much the same way as the Petrobras operation.
In that case, investigators say construction firms bribed corrupt Petrobras executives and politicians to let them divvy up contracts with the company and overbill it by billions of dollars.
Neves’s office said the senator had done nothing wrong.
“References to Senator Aecio’s name are all based on hearsay, there is no proof or evidence of any irregularity,” an adviser told journalists.
“These are old questions that have already been the subject of previous investigations, which were thrown out, or questions that have no relation to the senator.”
Neves, the head of the center-right PSDB party, narrowly lost to Rousseff in the 2014 presidential election.
The case comes as speculation swirls over who could be Brazil’s next president, with Rousseff facing likely impeachment before the senate.
The leftist president is accused in the impeachment case of illegally doctoring the government’s accounts.
But she is also under fire over a deep recession and the explosive, far-reaching Petrobras scandal – even though she has not been implicated in that personally.
A recent poll put Neves in second place if early elections were to be held to resolve the political crisis, as 62% of Brazilians want.
Environmentalist Marina Silva was in first place with 39%, 7 points ahead of Neves. – Rappler.com