SAO PAULO Brazilian police carried out arrests and raids on Tuesday as part of an investigation into corruption at a public hospital in Rio de Janeiro, building on three years of graft probes that have shaken the political establishment.
Federal police said they had three arrest warrants and 20 search warrants, and they were bringing three people in for questioning about bidding processes at the National Institute for Trauma and Orthopedics.
Evidence shows a former hospital director and a former secretary of the Rio state government were part of a scheme to steer business to companies in exchange for bribes equal to 10 percent of the contracts, police said in a statement.
Police said those arrested would be formally accused of corruption, money laundering and running a criminal organisation.
Brazilian investigators have focused in recent months on the administration of former Rio Governor Sergio Cabral, who was arrested in November and accused of leading a scheme that drew more than 200 million reais ($64 million) in bribes for public works, including the overhaul of a World Cup stadium.
Cabral, who has denied wrongdoing, belongs to the same party as President Michel Temer, whose cabinet includes a half-dozen ministers accused of involvement in kickback schemes, posing risks to his unpopular austerity agenda.
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Lisa Von Ahn)