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Brazil's Supreme Court asks police head to clarify comments on Temer

Reuters

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Luis Barroso asked on Saturday for the head of the Federal Police to clarify comments he made in a Reuters interview published a day earlier regarding an investigation of President Michel Temer.

In the Reuters interview, Federal Police Director General Fernando Segovia said a bribery investigation into Temer regarding the extension of port concessions last year has found no evidence of corruption and could soon conclude no crime was committed.

Segovia said police found no proof that a decree signed last year by Temer favored logistics firm Rodrimar SA, which operates services in the Port of Santos, Latin America's busiest port.

The bribery investigation is the only case pending against Temer, who last year avoided standing trial before the Supreme Court when allies in Congress shielded him from charges of corruption, obstruction of justice and organized crime.

Barroso said Segovia talked about an investigation yet to be concluded by police, in a way that put pressure and threatens the autonomy of the federal police deputy in charge of the case.

The interview made the front pages of all major Brazilian newspapers and web news portals on Saturday.

An association defending interests of federal police deputies said in a statement that no head of the force should express comments on ongoing investigations.

The federal police head sent a message to members of the force on Saturday saying he did not say, categorically, that the investigation would be shelved.

Segovia said he recognizes the independence of people behind the Temer investigation and that he will respect whatever outcome the probe reaches.

(This story corrects to remove reference to shelving investigation, paragraph 2.)

(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Bill Trott)