UPDATE 2-Brazil prosecutors probe messages to Rousseff aide -paper

jueves 7 de enero de 2016 17:49 GYT

(Adds details on Justice minister, paragraphs 6-7)

SAO PAULO Jan 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors are investigating text messages from an engineering executive that may show President Dilma Rousseff's chief of staff favored construction firms that donated to his party while he was state governor, the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Thursday.

A separate set of messages from the same executive may indicate Aldemir Bendine, chief executive of state-run oil company Petrobras, participated in a "supposedly illegal" debenture scheme to raise money for engineering firm OAS when he led the state-run Banco do Brasil, the report said.

Both sets of messages are being analyzed by federal prosecutors, said the paper, which had access to the documents.

Neither Bendine nor Rousseff's chief of staff, Jacques Wagner, have been charged with wrongdoing. Wagner was governor of Bahia state at the time of the messages.

Wagner issued a statement criticizing the leak and said his political activity had always been based exclusively on the interests of Brazil and Bahia.

Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo ordered a police inquiry into the leaking of the text messages that were protected by legal confidentiality, according to a ministry statement.

Federal police investigators have complained recently about a cut in funding that could hamper ongoing probes. Cardozo has said the government will fully finance police operations.

Investigators are tackling Brazil's largest-ever corruption scandal which has ensnared dozens of politicians, many of whom are aligned with Rousseff's Workers' Party.   Continuación...