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Rio de Janeiro governor arrested, latest in 'Car Wash' probe

The Associated Press
Rio de Janeiro governor arrested, latest in 'Car Wash' probe

RIO DE JANEIRO — The governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro was arrested recently for allegedly taking about $10 million in bribes since 2007, adding to a string of corruption arrests of senior political figures.

Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao was taken into custody by federal police at the governor’s palace early in the morning in an operation named “Wolf’s Mouth.” He was Rio’s deputy governor between 2007 and 2014 and then was elected to the top job four years ago.

Attorney General Raquel Dodge told journalists Pezao is accused of criminal organization, money laundering and corruption, but gave few details.

The governor’s attorney and Rio government spokespeople did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Pezao, whose term ends Dec. 31, is the latest high-profile politician to be caught up in the so-called “Car Wash” investigation into bribes from construction and other companies.

Scores of businessmen and politicians have been convicted and jailed since the operation launched in 2014.

Pezao’s arrest follows a plea bargain by Carlos Miranda, a former adviser to former Gov. Sergio Cabral, who was Pezao’s superior from 2007 to 2014. Cabral himself was arrested in 2016.

Miranda testified that Pezao received thousands of dollars in bribes each month.

Dodge said Brazil’s federal police are still trying to find the embezzled money.

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