Rio De Janerio, Mar 22 : Former Brazilian President Michel Temer has been arrested in Sao Paulo as part of a massive corruption investigation, local media reported on Friday.
Mr Temer, a 78-year-old lawyer who was in office from 2016 to 2018, is being investigated in several cases. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing. His arrest was considered imminent after he lost his legal protection when he left office.
Many politicians and business leaders have been convicted or charged as part of the so-called Operation Car Wash and the arrest was ordered by Judge Marcelo Bretas, who is in charge of the Operation Car Wash investigations on corruption in the government. Seven others were arrested, including Moreira Franco, who served as minister of Mines and Energy in the Temer government and retired Colonel Joao Baptista Lima Filho, a close friend of Temer.
The former president has been mentioned in several different cases of corruption, but was arrested for a particular case of bribe-taking, Xinhua reported. He is accused of taking 1 million reals (about 262,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes from construction company Engevix, in exchange for favoring the company in a contract with nuclear power plant Angra 3.
Franco and Lima are accused of having acted as middlemen in the case.
According to the prosecution office, participants of the scheme, including Temer, committed crimes of corruption, embezzlement and money laundering, which involved other companies and governmental contracts as well.
Temer is "the head of a criminal organization" which has been active in Rio for decades, said Judge Bretas.Temer, the predecessor of current President Jair Bolsonaro, left office last year. He is the second Brazilian president that has been arrested for corruption, following Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is currently serving a 12-year-and-one-month prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. (UNI)