Former Brazil chief-of-staff arrested for alleged involvement in Petrobras scandal

Associated Press

Police in Brazil have arrested former presidential chief of staff Jose Dirceu, the most senior member of the ruling Workers' Party to be taken into custody in connection with corruption at the state-owned oil company Petrobras.

Dirceu served as former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's chief of staff between 2003 and 2005. He was arrested on Monday in his home in Brasilia, where he was under house arrest serving the rest of an 11-year sentence for his involvement in a massive cash-for-votes scheme in Congress more than 10 years ago.

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Prosecutors say Dirceu masterminded the kickback scheme at Petrobras, accepted bribes while in office and continued to receive payments from contractors after he was jailed in late 2013 for the vote-buying scandal.