Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil ex-tourism minister Alves arrested in World Cup inquiry

This file photo taken on October 9, 2013 shows former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (L) and former Lower House President Henrique Eduardo Alves attending a solemn session of the National Congress in tribute to the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution in Brasilia Image copyright AFP
Image caption Henrique Eduardo Alves was tourism minister under President Rousseff and President Temer

Police in Brazil have arrested five people suspected of overcharging during the construction of a football stadium ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Among those detained is Henrique Eduardo Alves, a former tourism minister under President Dilma Rousseff and her successor Michel Temer.

Mr Alves stepped down last year after allegations he was involved in the massive Car Wash corruption scandal.

He is a member of President Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.

Mr Alves has not yet commented on the latest allegations made against him.

Before serving as tourism minister, Mr Alves was the speaker of the lower house from 2013 to 2015 and was considered a close ally of Mr Temer.

Police say he is suspected to have played a part in overcharging the government for the construction of the Arena das Dunas football stadium in the city of Natal, in north-eastern Brazil.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Alves faces allegations of involvement in a corruption scheme involving the Arena das Dunas stadium

The contract was inflated by $23.4m (£18.2m) with the surplus going towards bribes for lawmakers, according to a police statement.

Mr Alves' successor as speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, has also been named as part of the investigation.

Cunha is already in prison serving a 15-year sentence for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

Mr Alves' arrest could further increase pressure on Mr Temer, who is facing calls for his resignation after an audio tape was leaked in which the president appears to discuss paying hush money to Cunha.

In a separate case, Brazil's top electoral court is meeting later on Tuesday to rule on whether the 2014 elections were won by Dilma Rousseff and her then-running mate Michel Temer with the help of illegal campaign donations.

If that ruling were to go against Mr Temer, he could be forced to step down.

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