Brazil police searches Rio apartment owned by senator: source

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RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian police on Thursday searched an apartment owned by Senator Aecio Neves as well as his and other lawmakers’ offices as part of a corruption probe, a police source told Reuters.

Newspaper O Globo had said on Wednesday that Neves, the PSDB party leader who lost the 2014 presidential election to Dilma Rousseff, was filmed soliciting 2 million reais ($638,000) from Joesley Batista, chairman of meatpacking company JBS SA JBSS3.SA.

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 lawmakers 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 be immediately reached for comment.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn