SAO PAULO, April 2 (Reuters) - A Brazilian judge has ordered the seizure of assets belonging to Marcelo Gasparino, the sole candidate for chairman of steelmaker Usiminas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA, in connection to a scandal at a state power company.
Gasparino is ensnared in a case arising from the alleged misuse of 224 million reais ($71.8 million) at utility Centrais Eletricas de Santa Catarina SA, or Celesc, according to a statement by his office.
The asset seizure was ordered on March 20 but not made public until Thursday. Gasparino is one of 17 defendants in the case, launched last year, that also include the state's vice governor.
Representatives of Gasparino were not available for comment. Representatives for Tempo Capital, which proposed him for the 7Usiminas chairman post, declined to comment.
Shareholders of Usiminas, a steel producer, will vote on Gasparino's nomination on April 6. The company has been caught up in a power struggle between top investors Ternium SA and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.
$1 = 3.12 reais Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr; Writing by Caroline Stauffer