Brazilian President Michel Temer, right, talks with Senator Aecio Neves in May 2016, when he was still interim president. Picture: REUTERS
Brazilian President Michel Temer, right, talks with Senator Aecio Neves in May 2016, when he was still interim president. Picture: REUTERS

Brasilia — Brazil’s top prosecutor on Thursday requested the Supreme Court’s permission to arrest senator Aecio Neves, a key government ally and 2018 presidential hopeful, a source familiar with decision told Reuters.

The news follows reports that he was recorded asking a powerful businessman for money.

Brazilian police early on Thursday searched the homes of legislators including Neves, the PSDB party leader who lost the 2014 presidential election against Dilma Rousseff.

Local media reported that Neves was recorded asking for 2-million reals ($638,000) from Joesley Batista, chairman of meatpacking company JBS.

As part of plea bargain testimony, Batista also taped current President Michel Temer approving a plan to pay a potential witness to remain silent in the country’s biggest-ever graft probe, the newspaper said.

Images broadcast by the Globo News television station on Thursday showed police entering a beachfront apartment, as well as searching offices in congress belonging to Neves and two legislators from the ruling PMDB party.

Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that Neves be suspended from the senate due to the allegations, the source said.

A media representative said police would release an official statement "as soon as possible". Representatives for the Supreme Court and a lawyer representing Neves could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reuters

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