Brazil's president has pledged that his embattled finance minister, Antonio Palocci, will continue to serve despite allegations linking him to a corruption scandal.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gave his support late Thursday, shortly after a household caretaker testified before congressmen that he saw Palocci repeatedly visit a house where extorted funds were disbursed. Palocci said he has never been there.

Palocci is accused of illegal activities dating to his time as mayor of Ribeirao Preto in Sao Paulo state, in the mid-1990s. Opposition lawmakers have been calling on Palocci to step down.

Some information for this report was provided by Bloomberg and Reuters.