Brazil opposition leader facing criminal probes

The Brazilian Attorney General’s Office said that it asked the Supreme Court for authorization to open investigations on several politicians in connection with the $2 billion corruption scanda

The Brazilian Attorney General’s Office said on Monday that it asked the Supreme Court for authorization to open investigations on several politicians in connection with the $2 billion corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras, including former opposition presidential candidate Sen. Aecio Neves.

Under Brazilian law, only the Supreme Court can hear cases involving senior elected officials, including members of Congress.

All of the lawmakers mentioned in Attorney General Rodrigo Janot’s request to the high court were named by Sen. Delcidio do Amaral after his arrest in December within the framework of the Petrobras investigations.

Do Amaral was released this year after reaching a plea agreement with the AG Office.

On the basis of the senator’s denunciations, the AG Office asked for authorization to open investigations against Neves and the speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, against whom there are already five cases pending in the high court on assorted corruption accusations.

Janot also requested to be allowed to investigate government press secretary Edinho Silva, an important collaborator of President Dilma Rousseff, who is waiting for the Senate to decide whether she should stand trial after the lower house voted to impeach her for allegedly manipulating budget figures to disguise the size of the deficit.

Neves, the candidate defeated by Rousseff in the runoff to the October 2014 presidential election, faces the possibility of two separate probes.

On one hand, authorities intend to investigate whether he received resources diverted from the state-run electric company and, on the other, whether he facilitated fiscal manipulations to hide financial losses by the Minas Gerais government during his eight years as governor of that state.

Neves, in a statement released by his lawyers, said he feels that investigating everything denounced by the senator cooperating with the judiciary is “absolutely normal and necessary.”

If the Supreme Court accepts the requests by the AG Office, the new investigations will be added to those already opened against about 50 lawmakers accused of taking bribes to facilitate the corruption at Petrobras.

EFE |

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