SAO PAULO (AP) — Federal police arrested several people Thursday in connection with an investigation into whether President Michel Temer accepted bribes for favors to companies operating at the country’s largest port, the attorney general’s office said.
Rodrimar, a company at the center of the inquiry, confirmed that its president, Antonio Celso Grecco, was arrested and that police searched its headquarters in Santos, where the port is located. The company said the warrant would allow Ceslo Grecco to be held for five days.
The investigation is looking into a decree signed by Temer that allegedly favored Rodrimar and potentially other companies in exchange for a payoff. Rodrimar said in statement that it has never accepted official favors and that the decree didn’t benefit any company. The statement said the company and Celso Grecco were surprised by Thursday’s action.
According to Brazilian news outlets, others arrested included: Jose Yunes, a former aide to Temer; Joao Batista Lima, a former police coronel who is reportedly close to Temer; and Wagner Rossi, a minister in a previous government who once ran the entity that administers the port.
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The attorney general’s office and police declined to name anyone arrested.
The G1 news portal published a video showing Lima being put into an ambulance Thursday morning as a uniformed federal police officer watched. An Associated Press photographer saw Rossi arrive at the Sao Paulo federal police station, where he denied wrongdoing.
Temer has also denied the charges.
The president has been accused in two other cases, but in both he received a reprieve from Congress, which voted against removing him from office to stand trial. He could still face those charges when he leaves office.
The president’s office declined to comment Thursday.