Rio de Janeiro governor Luiz Fernando Pezão (MDB) was arrested on Thursday (28th) during an Operation Carwash development. He is suspected of being a part of his predecessor Sérgio Cabral's corruption scheme.
According to the General District Attorney's office, there are records of payments in the order of R$ 39 million (US$ 10 million) to Pezão from 2007 to 2015, when he was Rio de Janeiro's secretary of public works and deputy governor during the Cabral administration. Afterward, he became the scheme's leader.
General District Attorney Raquel Dodge said that Pezão is suspected of continuing his criminal activity, especially money laundering. She noted that Pezão's arrest was necessary to make sure the laundered money is returned to the public coffers.
Pezão is the fourth Rio governor to be arrested in the last few years, and the first to be arrested during his term.
The other governors arrested were Sérgio Cabral, also in Operation Carwash proceeding, Anthony Garotinho and wife Rosinha, on charges from the Electoral Justice.
Pezão denied ever receiving money from Cabral or kickbacks. He said the only thing he ever received from the former governor was a sound system, on the occasion of his birthday.
Translated by NATASHA MADOV