Contestant removed after Big Brother Brazil rape claim

Daniel Echaniz and Monique Amin

A contestant in the Brazilian version of Big Brother is being investigated for the suspected rape of a fellow housemate while she was asleep.

Male model Daniel Echaniz, 30, has been questioned by police after live images were shown of him in bed with 23-year-old Monique Amin.

"The young woman denies she was raped and has not pressed charges," police spokeswoman Edileide Macedo said.

"We continue to investigate the case because it is a public matter."

Television network Rede Globo has removed Echaniz from the reality TV house.

A video was posted on the internet and police were called in to investigate.

Officers collected evidence from the set of the reality show, including bed sheets, a police spokeswoman said.

'Testimony'

Media outlets in Brazil reported that Monique Amin had passed out from drinking alcohol at a party before going to bed.

A statement from Globo TV said: "Chief of Police Antônio Ricardo Nunes, head of the 32ª Police Department of Rio de Janeiro, has been at Globo TV production centre to listen to the questioning of student Monique Amin and model Daniel Echaniz.

"They were both seen in intimate scenes at Big Brother Brazil 12, images that generated suspicion of sexual abuse.

"During her testimony, however, Monique said she was aware of the facts and acted deliberately.

"Globo TV looked into the facts once suspicion began, and all early indications pointed to similar scenes of past editions of the reality show.

"After evaluation, Globo TV decided to remove Daniel in order for him to also provide formal information to the police.

"The producers of the show determined that the participant's behaviour was inappropriate and prevent him from returning."

While participants have been kicked off Big Brother productions in other countries for sexually questionable behaviour, this is the first disqualification on the Brazilian show.

The show, which began in 1997, is now in its 12th series with the winner receiving $830,000 (£540,000).