Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella was arrested on Tuesday, nine days before the end of his term, for alleged involvement in a corruption scheme at city hall, police and prosecutors said.
Crivella, who was arrested at home on the western side of Rio, denied any wrongdoing and said he was the target of political persecution. The mayor’s arrest comes after a wave of corruption investigations that have landed five former Rio state governors to jail.
“I am innocent and I don’t know what is going on. This is a political persecution,” Crivella told reporters after his arrest.
The investigation is partially based on plea bargain testimony from someone who admitted to laundering money for a group with ties to the mayor, running a scheme in which bribes were paid in exchange for public contracts, prosecutors said.
Other suspects were also arrested on Tuesday, police said.