Former Brazilian President Michel Temer was arrested for a second time on corruption charges on Thursday, facing renewed scrutiny in a sprawling corruption probe that has ensnared top politicians and businessmen.
Temer, 78, is now at the headquarters of the federal police in Sao Paulo, but it was not immediately clear where he would spend the night, a decision that must be taken by a judge in Brazil.
On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered the former president to return to jail while he’s investigated in several cases of alleged corruption related to the Car Wash investigation, a far-reaching probe that has roiled Latin America’s largest nation.
According to the prosecutors, construction company Engevix paid Temer bribes in exchange for a contract to build a nuclear power plant in the city of Angra dos Reis in the southern part of Rio de Janeiro state.
Prosecutors alleged in a previous statement that one Engevix executive said in plea bargain testimony that he paid more than $300,000 in 2014 to a company owned by a close Temer associate, Joao Baptista Lima Filho. An arrest warrant was also issued for Lima Filho.
Temer was first arrested in March but freed on appeal five days later by a judge who argued he did not pose a risk to the ongoing investigation.
Temer’s lawyer, Eduardo Carnelos, has criticised the court’s latest decision, calling the former president’s detention an “injustice” with “no foundations”.
Temer’s lawyers filed an appear against the latest order. Temer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The Car Wash probe, launched in 2014, unveiled complex corruption schemes of money laundering and kickbacks among the highest echelons of power. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, is currently serving a sentence of eight years and 10 months.
Temer became president in 2016 after ex-President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office for allegedly violating rules on handling federal finances.
Temer’s administration was clouded by corruption allegations and prosecutors charged him with corruption on three occasions. But Congress’s lower house never gave its consent to lifting his immunity from prosecution, which Brazil’s sitting presidents have.
His immunity ended when he left office January 1.