UPDATE 2-Brazilian prosecutor targets senior ruling party leaders -report

martes 7 de junio de 2016 13:11 GYT

(Add comments by Calheiros and Jucá, political context)

By Silvio Cascione

BRASILIA, June 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's top prosecutor is seeking the arrests of the Senate leader and other senior ruling party politicians for allegedly trying to obstruct a corruption probe, threatening to undermine President Michel Temer's interim government, O Globo reported on Tuesday.

Those targeted are Senate President Renan Calheiros, Senator Romero Jucá, the president of the ruling PMDB, former Brazilian President José Sarney and the suspended speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, the newspaper said.

Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot accuses them of seeking to block a sprawling two-year-old investigation into political kickbacks on contracts with state-run oil company Petrobras , according to the report.

The four men, powerful members of Brazil's political establishment and the centrist PMDB, the country's largest party, have denied the accusations.

The Supreme Court must authorize their arrests.

Their arrests would be a severe blow to Temer, who is struggling to establish his government's legitimacy less than a month after he replaced now suspended leftist President Dilma Rousseff.

A string of recent scandals has weakened the interim president as he seeks to build support in the Senate to convict and definitively remove Rousseff for breaking budget laws. Rousseff has described her suspension and possible removal from office as a coup.   Continuación...