RIO DE JANEIRO Ė A former Cabinet minister who is a close ally of Brazilian President Michel Temerís was jailed on Friday after evidence was found linking him to a 51-million-reais ($16.3-million) trove of cash discovered in an apartment.
Federal Police arrived at Geddel Vieira Limaís residence in the northeastern city of Salvador early Friday to detain the ex-minister, who was already being held under house arrest, and take him by plane to Brasilia, where he will be held in preventive custody (with no time frame for his release).
The police action was part of a new phase of an investigation into the diversion of funds from state-run Caixa Economica Federal Bank, where Vieira Lima once served as vice president.
The Federal Police said there was strong evidence the ex-minister was the owner of 51.03 million reais in cash found at an apartment in Salvador on Tuesday.
Local media reported Friday that police found Geddel Vieiraís fingerprints on the bills discovered inside the apartment.
The 58-year-old former minister was arrested on July 3 on accusations of obstruction of justice, although he was moved to house arrest nine days later.
Prosecutors say Vieira used his position inside the bank to help companies obtain loans and received bribes in return.
Vieira Lima, who has close ties with Temer and was the presidentís liaison with Congress until November 2016, was one of Caixa Economica Federalís vice presidents during the tenure of Temerís predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, and was National Integration Minister between 2007 and 2010 under Rousseffís mentor and predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
A member of Temerís Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), Vieira Lima stepped down as government secretary last November after being accused of influence-peddling by then-Culture Minister Marcelo Calero.