BRASïLIA (AFP) – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has insisted a corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras does not involve her government, as she fends off a new threat to her re-election bid.
“I think this does not place the government under any suspicion, as nobody in the government has been officially accused of anything,” Rousseff said in comments made Sunday and carried by newspapers on Monday.
The scandal at Petrobras erupted on Saturday with polls already showing Rousseff likely to lose the upcoming presidential elections to environmentalist Marina Silva in a run-off October 26.
Jailed former Petrobras director Paulo Roberto Costa has alleged that dozens of leading politicians received kickbacks on Petrobras deals.
Costa was arrested last March on suspicion of corruption and money laundering while he was head of Petrobras’ refining and supply between 2004 and 2012.
He is reportedly trying to strike a plea deal with prosecutors in return for a reduced sentence.
Rousseff also ordered Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo to ask federal police to get her the list of people named by Costa.
“If they do not give it to me, I am going to ask the supreme court,” the president told reporters,
Conservative magazine Veja, which first disclosed the allegations, said that among those named by Costa were Energy Minister Edison Lobao, Senate President Renan Calheiros, Enrique Eduardo Alves, chairman of the chamber of deputies, and ruling Workers Party (PT) treasurer Joao Vaccari Neto.
Globo daily quoted Rousseff as saying she was awaiting the results of the investigation into the allegations before commenting further.