Brazilian police early Tuesday arrested 15 executives and former executives, mainly from contractor Odebrecht, as part of a sweeping, two-year old corruption investigation. Police also detained 28 for questioning and executed 110 search warrants. Police searched Odebrecht offices in nine states. They also conducted searches at a hotel in Brasília frequented by politicians, executives and lobbyists. The investigation focuses on what police say is a pattern of bribery, kick-backs, fraud and money laundering. Tuesday’s action once again raised the possibility that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva cold be arrested for his alleged role in influence-peddling and money laundering. Also Tuesday, police released photos of material found at a luxury hide-away home in Atibaia, near São Paulo. Police say the items found there, including clothing with Lula’s name embroidered, show that he effectively owned the property, allegedly given to him by Odebrecht in exchange for his influence in the current administration of President Dilma Rousseff. Former President Lula’s effort to gain limited immunity from prosecution through appointment to a Cabinet post were further damaged Monday when a Supreme Court justice refused to lift a temporary injunction against his appointment.
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