Former Brazilian Economy Minister Guido Mantega (C) is escorted by Federal Police agents, after being arrested in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 22, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Brazilian police have arrested former Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who had served under presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.
Mantega was taken into custody on Thursday as part of the sweeping corruption investigation into the scandal engulfing the Latin American oil giant Petrobras.
The former minister, who maintained his post for nearly nine years, steered the country’s economy during the booming days of 2006 until 2014 when Petrobras plunged into economic bust, unprecedented in decades.


Brazil's former Finance Minister Guido Mantega (Photo by AFP)

Also, in connection with the Petrobras investigation, police on Thursday carried out several other arrests and dozens of search and seizure operations against suspects implicated in the scandal.
Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that former president Lula will stand trial for accepting bribes in connection with Petrobras.
The corruption probe, which has gained momentum over the past days, will also see Lula's wife, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva; engineering and construction firm OAS’s chief executive Jose Aldemario "Leo" Pinheiro; Paulo Okamotto, the president of the Lula Institute, and four others, go on trial.
The Petrobras scandal has had a damaging impact on the popularity of Lula's hand-picked successor from the Workers Party, Rousseff, who was ousted from the presidency late last month by the Senate for violating federal budget regulations.
Her successor, former vice president Michel Temer, is himself implicated in another criminal probe related to elections violations.
Brazil is currently witnessing what is believed to be the country’s biggest anti-corruption push in its history.
Prosecutors have charged nearly 200 people, including top executives and politicians.
83 people have already been found guilty and sentenced.


Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends the testimony of ex-President Dilma Rousseff during her impeachment trial at the Senate in Brasilia on August 29, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Lula, however, has been described by prosecutors as the "commander" or “mastermind" of the graft scheme in which an estimated 42 billion reais ($12.6 billion) was skimmed off the state-owned company.
The 70-year-old co-founder of the country's powerful Workers Party has said repeatedly that he is innocent.

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