Brazil police arrest former Paraná governor Richa in corruption probe

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian police have arrested Beto Richa, former governor of Paraná, as part of an investigation into wrongdoing involving a government program aimed at bolstering policing in rural areas of the state, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

A representative for Richa, who was running for the Senate in this year’s elections, said he was still waiting for guidance from Richa’s lawyers before commenting on the matter.

Separately, federal police said in a statement they were serving three arrest warrants in the state capital Curitiba, in the latest stage of the sweeping corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash.

Deonilson Roldo, Richa’s former chief of staff, was among those targeted by the operation, a police representative said, along with businessmen Theodócio Atherino and Tiago Correia Adriano Rocha.

Police suspect that engineering conglomerate Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL] paid 4 million reais ($979,000) in bribes to Roldo and partners so he would limit competition in an auction of rights to expand, maintain and operate a state highway in Paraná.

Police also served 33 search-and-seizure warrants in Paraná, São Paulo and Bahia as part of the investigation.

($1 = 4.09 reais)

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Bruno Federowski in Brasília; Editing by Keith Weir and Bernadette Baum