January 16, 2018 / 7:35 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Brazil's Caixa suspends VPs after presidential order

(Recasts with suspension of executives, Temer order, internal probe)

By Ricardo Brito

BRASILIA, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian state lender Caixa Economic Federal suspended four of its vice presidents on Tuesday after President Michel Temer called on them to step down and defend themselves from accusations of wrongdoing.

Caixa said it would follow the presidential order, without commenting on specific allegations after a string of corruption investigations involving loans and investments by public pension funds.

Temer’s order, directed to his finance minister and Caixa’s chief executive, follows similar demands by federal prosecutors last month, which the government initially ignored, sources told Reuters last week.

The prosecutor-general’s office repeated those calls on Tuesday, threatening President Michel Temer with administrative measures should all Caixa vice presidents not be replaced by a Feb. 26 deadline.

Four of Caixa’s 12 vice presidents, along with Chief Executive Gilberto Occhi, have been caught up in a wave of graft investigations that have swept Latin America’s largest economy in recent years.

In August, Caixa started an independent investigation into the corruption allegations. In December, Caixa said in a quarterly earnings statement that it had not concluded the process. (Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Additional reporting by Aluisio Alves; Writing by Bruno Federowski and Carolina Mandl; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Trott)

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