Brazil court authorizes probes of former Rousseff top aide, Sao Paulo mayor

miércoles 24 de febrero de 2016 16:36 GYT

SAO PAULO Feb 24 (Reuters) - Brazil's Supreme Court on Wednesday authorized formal investigations into President Dilma Rousseff's former chief of staff, as well as the mayor of the country's largest city and an opposition senator, for potential corruption.

Supreme Court Justice Celso de Mello said federal prosecutors could investigate Rousseff's former chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante, who now serves as education minister, Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad and Senator Aloysio Nunes of the opposition PSDB party.

Prosecutors said all three were named in plea bargain deals with states' witnesses in a corruption and political kickback scheme at state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA, but that the possible crimes raised by the witnesses were not necessarily related to the Petrobras investigation.

Representatives for Haddad, Mercadante and Nunes did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Around 50 politicians, mostly from Rousseff's coalition, are under investigation for possibly taking bribes in Brazil's largest-ever corruption investigation.

Some politicians have been cleared of wrongdoing after they were named in plea bargain testimony.

Dozens of engineering executives are on trial for allegedly forming a cartel to fix prices on contracts with Petrobras, as the oil firm is known, and using the excess funds to bribe politicians and Petrobras executives. (Reporting by Eduardo Simoes; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Leslie Adler)