Jose Yunes, a former adviser and longtime friend of Brazil’s President Michel Temer, was arrested by federal police Thursday. The arrest is part of an investigation into alleged corruption related to a decree regulating the country’s ports and whether Temer received bribes in exchange for shaping the order in a manner that would benefit the logistics company Rodrimar SA.
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A federal police representative refused to comment on the arrest, according to Agencia Brasil. Rodrimar SA operates several services in Santos, the most active container port in Latin America.
In February, the federal police chief told Reuters that no evidence of corruption had emerged from investigations into the decree. At the time the Director General of the Federal Police, Fernando Segovia, said “What we see is that the decree itself did not, in theory, benefit the company. There was no benefit. And there is no word about money being paid," said Segovia, who was appointed by Temer late last year. "Until now, absolutely nothing has appeared that would be the basis for corruption."
Yunes has been a close friend of Temer for more than 40 years. His lawyer, Jose Lins Oliveira Lima, characterized his arrest as being “unacceptable.” He insisted that a man with over 50 years of legal experience has no business being “imprisoned.”
Brazil’s Public Prosecutor’s Office has informed that Yunes‘ arrest is part of a broader federal police operation to carry out several temporary arrests, as well as search and seizures, related to the investigations into alleged corruption. The order to make the arrests was authorized by Attorney General of the Republic, Raquel Dodge.
The decree, published in May last year, extended contracts governing port concessions, benefiting current operators. Temer has denied any role in the corruption scandals.