April 15, 2016 / 12:47 PM / 2 years ago

Brazil builder made undeclared donations to Rousseff campaign-paper

BRASILIA, April 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian engineering company Andrade Gutierrez made undeclared donations to President Dilma Rousseff’s 2014 reelection campaign, newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported on Friday, in an article that could bolster calls for her impeachment.

The newspaper did not say how it obtained the information, which adds to previous reports that some of the official donations to Rousseff’s 2014 campaign were funded with kickbacks from large infrastructure projects.

A spokeswoman for Andrade Gutierrez declined to comment. Representatives from Rousseff’s Workers’ Party did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Rousseff has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

According to Folha, Andrade Gutierrez paid more than 10 million reais ($2.86 million) for opinion polls that were actually commissioned by Rousseff’s Workers Party.

The services were not declared by Rousseff’s campaign, a criminal offense under Brazilian electoral law, Folha said.

Andrade Gutierrez’ executives have signed a plea bargain deal as part of a police investigation into a broad corruption scheme linking state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA , political parties and major builders, sources have told Reuters.

The allegations may bolster the case of the main opposition party PSDB, which has demanded that electoral authorities annul Rousseff’s 2014 re-election for using illegal funding.

Brazil’s lower house on Friday opened a three-day debate on whether to impeach President Dilma Rousseff on charges of manipulating budget accounts, after the government lost a last-ditch appeal before the Supreme Court to halt the process. ($1 = 3.4934 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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