Former President Michel Temer of Brazil Is Arrested
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian law enforcement officials on Thursday arrested former President Michel Temer, local news outlets reported.
The officials did not immediately disclose the charges that led to the detention of Mr. Temer, 78, whose term expired in January. He was taken into custody at his home in São Paulo, according to the news reports.
As he was being taken into custody, Mr. Temer was reported to have told a journalist who reached him on his cellphone that he was being arrested in connection with a case handled by a federal judge in Rio de Janeiro who is involved in high-profile corruption matters.
In 2017, Mr. Temer was charged with corruption and obstruction of justice after investigators obtained a recording of a conversation in which he can be heard condoning the payment of a bribe.
Mr. Temer managed to avoid standing trial then by persuading lawmakers to block the case from reaching the Supreme Court, which handles criminal cases against elected officials.
On leaving office, Mr. Temer lost the legal protections afforded to elected officials, leaving a flurry of criminal investigations that target him in the hands of ordinary prosecutors and judges.
Law enforcement officials on Thursday also took into custody a senior Temer aide, Moreira Franco, who served on his cabinet, according to news reports.
Brazilian news outlets broadcast footage of police convoys that were reported to be transporting Mr. Temer to an airport in São Paulo.
The arrests come about a year after another former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who served from 2003 until 2010, began serving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering.
Mr. Temer, a veteran lawmaker from the Brazilian Democratic Movement party, became president in 2016 after helping to orchestrate the impeachment of then-President Dilma Rousseff.
Mr. Temer was elected as Ms. Rousseff’s vice president, but turned on her as the country’s economy slipped into recession and Ms. Rousseff’s popularity plummeted.
Mr. Temer was a deeply unpopular president who spent much of his limited political capital in office fending off the criminal investigations that have dogged him in recent years.