Brasília: Brazil`s judiciary are to try Joao Vaccari, treasurer of the ruling Workers Party (PT) on corruption and money laundering charges relating to a graft scandal at oil giant Petrobras, according to documents seen Monday by AFP.
Vaccari and 26 others are to go forward to trial a week after public prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol ruled they be charged with demanding "bribes in the form of electoral donations" for the party of President Dilma Rousseff, according to testimony collated by investigators.
Vaccari, one of the biggest names yet to fall under suspicion in a snowballing scandal that has gripped Brazil, allegedly received donations worth four million reais, or $1.2 million at current rates.
The graft scheme, which has ensnared dozens of politicians, mainly government allies, comprised a 10-year program of kickbacks and political payoffs that allegedly siphoned off $3.8 billion from Petrobras via inflated contracts.
Rousseff, who was reelected to a second term in October, is not herself being investigated for lack of evidence implicating her, despite the fact she was Petrobras board chair during much of the period under review.
But the affair has shattered her standing with the public -- a latest MDA opinion poll Monday showed her popularity rating as just 10.8 percent, a 15-year low for a Brazilian leader.
The judge investigating the case in the southern city of Curitiba has not called for Vaccari`s incarceration.
His party said last week he would stay in his post on the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise and the PT noted Monday he was not treasurer for the period being investigated, having only been appointed in 2010.
Also facing trial is former Petrobras services director Renato de Souza Duque, believed to have played a key role in the graft scheme
The scandal broke a year ago when another former Petrobras director-turned-whistleblower, Paulo Roberto Costa, began naming names in an attempt to obtain a reduced sentence.
Five accused named Vaccari in their testimony to investigators.
Other politicians caught up in the probe include the presidents of the senate and the chamber of deputies, both from the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) which holds the balance of power in Rousseff`s coalition administration.