14 Dec, RIO DE JANEIRO –
In another separate attempt to remove Brazil’s Senate President Renan Calheiros from office, the country’s top prosecutor Monday accused him of being part of the corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras and asked for his resignation.
Chief Federal Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot said there was evidence of Calheiros’ crimes and called for the senator to lose his mandate if convicted.
Calheiros rejected the accusation in an email, but confirmed his willingness to cooperate with any investigation.
Calheiros was accused of taking 800,000 reais (239,600 U.S. dollars) in bribes from Serveng Civilsan, a company which had contracts with Petrobras, in exchange for preferential treatment of the company. He was also charged with laundering money from donations made by Serveng Civilsan to his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.
The Supreme Court, which will enter into a recess from next week until Feb. 1 next year, hasn’t taken any action on the new charge yet. As head of the Senate, Calheiros has the right to be tried only by the Supreme Court.
The charge comes just a week after Calheiros defused another embezzlement case.
Calheiros was indicted on Dec. 1 on charges of using public money to pay off pending child support for an illegitimate daughter. The Brazilian Supreme Court voted on Dec. 7 that Calheiros can keep his position as president of the country’s upper house, but agreed to remove him from the presidential line of succession.
Though he has survived the first legal challenge, Calheiros is still embroiled in a number of corruption allegations concerning the Petrobras corruption ring.
The head of the Senate is ordinarily third in the line of succession in Brazil, behind the vice president and the president of the Chamber of Deputies. (Xinhua)