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Monday, 27 March, 2000, 01:40 GMT
Brazil mayor reinstated
Sao Paulo
Celso Pitta is back in charge of Sao Paulo - for now
A judge in Brazil has ruled that the mayor of Sao Paulo, the country's largest city, should be reinstated - just two days after he was ordered to step down to face charges of abuse of power and illegal financial dealings.

Appeals Court Judge Hermes Pinotti accepted a petition by lawyers for Celso Pitta allowing him to return to office, according to a court spokeswoman.

However the decision in favour of Mr Pitta is temporary and could be overturned as investigators probe further into the accusations against him.

His lawyers are expected to file another appeal on Monday in the hope of permanently overturning the order to step down.

Corruption allegations

Mr Pitta was ordered to leave his post on Friday after public prosecutors filed a petition alleging that he had accepted illegal loans from a businessman, totalling $465,000.

The Sao Paulo mayor has been embroiled in controversy since his estranged wife, Nicea, appeared on national television two weeks ago, accusing him of massive corruption.

Mr Pitta's son has also testified to police this week against his father, who has vowed not to step down.

Correspondents say the mayor, elected in November 1996, has been beset by financial troubles during his time in office.

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24 Mar 00 | Americas
Brazil mayor told to resign
17 Mar 00 | Americas
Brazil keeps it in the family
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