Brazil's ex-president Michel Temer arrested in 'Car Wash' probe

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Brazil's former President Michel Temer was arrested on Thursday in an investigation of alleged graft in the construction of a nuclear power plant, prosecutors said, threatening to delay debate over the government's ambitious fiscal reforms.
Michel Temer was Brazil's most unpopular leader ever and faced a number of corruption accusations on leaving office in 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Brazil's ex-president Michel Temer was arrested Thursday (March 21), an official said, as part of a sprawling anti-corruption probe that has already claimed dozens of political and corporate scalps.

Police arrested Temer, the 78-year-old predecessor of current far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, in Sao Paulo, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office in Rio de Janeiro told AFP.

Former mines and energy minister Moreira Franco was also detained along with six others, including business people, G1 reported.

Temer, Brazil's most unpopular leader ever, faced a number of corruption accusations on leaving office last year.

Launched in 2014, the Car Wash investigation uncovered a vast graft operation involving Petrobras and major construction companies and bribes to politicians of several parties.

Temer is just the latest former president caught up in the probe that has rocked Brazil's business and political elites.

The center-right politician took over as a caretaker figure after the last Workers Party president, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and removed from office in 2016.

Former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is serving a lengthy jail term after being found guilty in two corruption cases.

Far-right leader Bolsonaro campaigned on a hard line against corruption and crime and his victory in October's election was in part attributed to the Car Wash investigation.

Temer did not contest the ballot.

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