SAO PAULO – Former Brazilian President Michel Temer was arrested on Thursday, less than three months after his departure, in a comprehensive corruption investigation that toppled dozens of top Brazilian politicians.
Temer has denied constant misconduct. He faces ten cases of corruption, five for crimes allegedly committed during his term in office.
The politician of the center-right policy took office in 2016 after President Dilma Rousseff was charged with budget irregularities. In January, he was replaced by current President Jair Bolsonaro.
Temer is the youngest leader of Operation Car Wash, the largest corruption scandal in Latin American history. Investigations that have traced corruption from a car wash in Brasilia to the congress halls have expanded to a dozen countries, implying a large number of public officials.
Former executives of a construction company say Temer traded lucrative government orders for bribes in a power plant. His former Minister of Mines and Energy was also arrested.
Temer is the second Brazilian president to be indicted in the scandal. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, arrested last April, is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption.
Temer was unpopular with the Brazilian electorate but politically experienced. The congress narrowly voted in 2017 to block a corruption case against Temer after seeking the support of its allies. (The Brazilian House of Commons has to approve the trial of an incumbent president.)
This vote has sparked protests across Brazil.
Disgust at the high rate of corruption in Brasilia led voters to shun the traditional candidates in last year's elections Bolsonaro, the former army captain and former marginal politician, vowed to crack down on official misconduct.
"Prison for all those who have ruined the wealth of the Brazilian people," said Major Sergio Gomes Olimpio, Senator of Bolsonaro's party, on Thursday in a video released on social media. "You have to pay now."