Brazil's Rousseff moves to limit damage from Petrobras scandal

lunes 8 de septiembre de 2014 18:26 GYT

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA, Sept 8 (Reuters) - President Dilma Rousseff sought to shield her re-election bid from a new scandal at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA by asking prosecutors on Monday for any details involving officials in her government.

Brazilian magazine Veja reported on Saturday that a jailed former executive at Petrobras named Energy Minister Edison Lobao and two dozen other politicians as people who received kickbacks from the company's contracts.

The scandal threatens to further complicate Rousseff's chances of winning a second term in October in a tight contest, with polls showing her behind environmentalist Marina Silva in a potential runoff.

Rousseff told reporters Lobao had "vehemently" denied the allegations. She asked Brazil's top prosecutor for details of the plea bargain testimony leaked to Veja to see if any government officials are involved so she can take action.

"As president of the nation, I have to act on official information, not on a magazine report," Rousseff said.

According to Veja, the former head of Petrobras' refining and supply unit, Paulo Roberto Costa, told police investigators in a confidential plea deal that he was involved in a vast kickback scheme that provided funds to the government's allies.

Costa was arrested in March in a probe of money-laundering involving Petrobras. Brazilian media dubbed him "the ticking time bomb" because he had threatened to spill the beans and name high-profile politicians benefiting from illegal funds.

Among those he reportedly named were three state governors, six senators and 25 congressmen from three parties in the governing coalition. They included the president of the Senate and the speaker of the lower chamber and the treasurer of Rousseff's leftist Workers' Party.   Continuación...