July 3, 2017 / 8:22 PM / 2 years ago

Brazil ex-minister accused of obstructing corruption probe

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Minister Chief of the Secretary Office of Government Geddel Vieira Lima looks on during a meeting with deputies and government leaders of the Chamber of Deputies, in his office at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian police on Monday arrested former minister Geddel Vieira Lima as part of an investigation into loans that state bank Caixa Econômica Federal extended to meatpacking, finance, toll road and real estate companies between 2011 and 2013, the prosecutor-general’s office said.

In a statement on Monday the prosecutor-general’s office accused Vieira Lima of acting to obstruct the investigations.

Vieira Lima was in charge of President Michel Temer’s relations with congress.

Vieira Lima’s attorney Gamil Föppel said his arrest was not necessary, because the former minister never refused to collaborate in the investigation and had offered to give the police his passport.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Brad Brooks and Bruno Federowski; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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