BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s federal police raided the offices of people close to several prominent senators on Tuesday in the latest phase of a sweeping, three-year corruption probe, according to authorities and local media.
The 14 search and seizure warrants were issued by the Supreme Court based on information provided by executives of engineering conglomerate Odebrecht SA in plea bargain deals tied to the graft probe, police said in a statement.
The raids took place in the cities of Brasília, Maceió, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.
Neither the police nor prosecutors provided details on the targets. Globo News TV said the investigation targeted people closely associated with Senate President Eunício Oliveira and Senators Renan Calheiros, Valdir Raupp and Humberto Costa.
Oliveira, who is a key ally of President Michel Temer in his efforts to pass fiscal reforms, denied receiving illegal donations in his 2014 campaign for governor of Ceará, a northeastern state.
“The senator is convinced the truth will prevail,” a statement issued by his lawyer said, commenting on the morning police raids.
Senator Costa in a statement said he was confident the raids would corroborate his defense.
Other senators mentioned in the media did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In December, Odebrecht signed the world’s largest leniency deal with Brazilian, U.S. and Swiss prosecutors and admitted bribing politicians across Latin America and in Africa. The Supreme Court is expected to disclose details in the coming weeks of the 950 depositions given by 77 Odebrecht executives.
Carlos Lima, a federal prosecutor who has helped lead the probe, told Reuters this month he thinks upward of 350 new investigations could stem from the Odebrecht testimony. The scandal has reached into Temer’s inner circle and threatens the fate of proposed reforms to curb an untenable budget deficit and pull Brazil out of its worst recession.
Reporting by Silvio Cascione and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Frances Kerry and Paul Simao