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Roundup: Brazil's Supreme Court authorizes investigations on high-profile politicians

Xinhua, April 12, 2017 Adjust font size:

Brazil's Supreme Court authorized the Chief Prosecution Office to investigate dozens of high-profile politicians, including several cabinet members and a third of the senators.

The information was published by local daily O Estado de Sao Paulo and later confirmed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Eight ministers of President Michel Temer's administration, three state governors, 24 out of the 81 senators and 42 federal House representatives are in the list of people to be investigated, including the head of Senate Eunicio Oliveira and the head of the House Rodrigo Maia, both in line for presidency in case the office becomes vacant.

The politicians were mentioned in the testimonies of 77 former executives of the construction company Odebrecht. The company was deeply involved in a major corruption scandal of state-run oil giant Petrobras and in numerous other corruption schemes in connection with governmental contracts.

The federal police have launched an investigation codenamed "Carwash," which initially dealt with the Petrobras case, but later grew to include corruption in other governmental contracts with private companies.

Senator Aecio Neves, who lost the last presidential elections to former President Dilma Rousseff and was one of the articulators of her impeachment last year, will be investigated, as will Senator Fernando Collor, who was elected president of Brazil in 1989 and impeached in 1992.

Rousseff, despite having been accused of corruption by the opposition, is not on the list, neither is her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

According to O Estado, President Temer was also accused, but cannot be investigated while in presidency.

Under Brazilian law, politicians can only be tried by the Supreme Court. Investigations on them must be authorized by a Supreme Court judge.

However, Judge Teori Zavascki died in January, reportedly only days before he would authorize the beginning of the investigations. The cases of "Carwash" had to be passed to Judge Edson Fachin, who took a few months to authorize the investigations at last. Endi