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Lula’s ex-finance minister held in Brazil Petrobras investigation

Antonio Palocci copy

 

Sao Paulo / AFP

Brazilian police on Monday arrested Antonio Palocci, a former finance minister and senior figure in the last two governments, as part of the Petrobras corruption probe, news reports said.
Police said only that a former minister was arrested. The state-run Agencia Brasil and other news outlets identified the person as Palocci, 55, who served as finance minister under Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and as chief of staff for Dilma Rousseff.
He was also a key figure in the leftist Workers Party.
Palocci was arrested in Sao Paolo on suspicion of being linked to bribes paid by the construction company Odebrecht, one of the main firms involved in the huge Petrobras pay-to-play scandal.
Last week the police briefly detained Palocci’s successor as finance minister, Guido Mantega, also in connection with the Petrobras scandal.
Last week a judge also ruled that Lula himself must stand trial for corruption in the Petrobras case.
Prosecutors charged that the popular leftist masterminded the large-scale plundering of Petrobras.
Lula thus became the highest-profile figure to face trial in a case that has taken down some of the country’s most powerful business executives and politicians.
The charges allege that Lula, 70, received the equivalent of 3.7 million reais ($1.1 million) in bribes.
Among the accusations are charges that the former union leader and his wife received a beachside apartment and upgrades to the property from a major construction company, OAS, which was one of the players in the Petrobras scheme.

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