(Adds Calheiros comment, prosecutor asking he be removed from
SAO PAULO Dec 12 Brazil's top prosecutor
brought new charges against Senate President Renan Calheiros on
Monday, accusing him of taking part in corruption at state oil
company Petrobras and asking the Supreme Court to
remove him from office.
Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot's request comes just a week
after Calheiros was nearly removed in a separate embezzlement
Janot alleges that Calheiros received part of a donation of
800,000 reais ($240,000) in 2010 from an oil and gas contractor
in return for keeping a senior Petrobras executive in the post,
where he was later convicted of currying favors.
Calheiros rejected the allegation in an emailed statement,
and said he was willing to cooperate with any investigation.
It was not clear when the Supreme Court would take any
action on the charges, but the justices enter into recess after
this week and do not return to work until Feb. 1.
Monday's charges were the first that specifically tied
Calheiros to the massive corruption investigation centered
around state-run oil company Petrobras, where a political
kickback scheme played out for years.
In the embezzlement case, Calheiros was indicted on Dec. 1
by the Supreme Court over allegations of misusing public funds
in a nine-year-old case involving the payment of child support
for a daughter from an extramarital affair.
A Supreme Court justice ruled last week that Calheiros
should be removed from his leadership role, but the full court
overturned the injunction, defusing a standoff that threatened
to derail the government's agenda of economic reforms.
Under Brazil's constitution, members of Congress can only be
tried by the Supreme Court, which often takes years to rule on
major investigations because of an extensive backlog of cases.
($1 = 3.35 reais)
(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Grant McCool and Jonathan