September 26, 2016 8:28:45 pm
Brazilian authorities have arrested a former finance minister who was part of the government of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe involving state oil giant Petrobras. Police said Monday that Antonio Palocci was detained in Sao Paulo. A statement alleges he maintained a ‘criminal relationship’ with officials at Brazilian constructor Odebrecht.
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The company was a principal participant in a kickback scheme at Petrobras that authorities say resulted in more than USD 2 billion in bribes over more than a decade.
Palocci was finance minister and then chief of staff during much of Silva’s 2003-2010 government. He is alleged to have negotiated deals on behalf of Silva’s Workers’ Party. Lawyer Jose Roberto Batochio says Palocci is innocent and calls the arrest a ‘spectacle’.
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