Brazil’s former president Michel Temer – who played a key role in the 2016 impeachment of his rival Dilma Rousseff – has been arrested by federal police, according to local media.
The G1 news portal reported that Temer was arrested in São Paulo on Thursday morning as part of Operation Carwash, the country’s largest ever corruption investigation, which led to the convictions of numerous members of Brazil’s political elite.
While he was president, Temer was charged with a slew of crimes, including corruption, racketeering, and obstruction of justice, but managed to dodge impeachment proceedings thanks to his alliances in Congress.
His arrest has since been imminent, as he no longer has the legal protections enjoyed by a sitting president.
Temer was former president Dilma Rousseff’s vice-president, and came to power after Brazil’s first female president was impeached for illegally using money from state banks to bankroll public spending.
She described the impeachment as a coup and accused Temer of conspiring to usurp her.
Temer pushed through a series of unpopular austerity measures – including freezing social spending for 20 years –and left office with an approval rating hovering around two percent.
Popular disgust over political corruption helped fuel the rise of Temer’s far-right successor, Jair Bolsonaro, who was sworn in on 1 January.