REFILE-UPDATE 1-Brazil judge says president's ex-chief of staff may have been bribed

martes 25 de agosto de 2015 20:32 GYT

(Refiles to change spelling to Hoffmann from Hoffman)

By Caroline Stauffer

SAO PAULO Aug 25 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Brazil overseeing a sweeping corruption investigation said on Tuesday there were signs that President Dilma Rousseff's former chief of staff had received bribes.

Judge Sergio Moro asked the Supreme Court to authorize an investigation into whether a graft case involving Brazil's planning ministry may have benefited Gleisi Hoffmann, now a senator and still personally close to the president.

Hoffmann has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing.

Moro's investigation, which has mostly focused on a political kickback scheme at state-run oil firm Petrobras over the past 17 months, has already pushed Rousseff's approval rating to single digits and, along with a slow economy, brought calls for her impeachment.

"This is very bad news for Rousseff, at a time she is doing everything to diminish the crisis, news like this brings the crisis even closer to her," said Thiago de Aragao, a partner at Arko Advice, a consulting firm.

Hoffmann served as Rousseff's chief of staff from 2011 to 2014, before leaving to run for senator as a member of Rousseff's Workers' Party.

Rousseff has repeatedly denied knowing about corruption at Petrobras, though she chaired the oil firm's board from 2003 to 2010 when much of the alleged graft took place.   Continuación...