Brasília — Brazilian police raided the house of agriculture minister Blairo Maggi in a corruption probe early on Thursday, adding yet more pressure on the scandal-plagued government of President Michel Temer.
Federal police said in a statement that authorities were searching 64 addresses in the capital Brasilia, São Paulo and the state of Mato Grosso. They did not name the people being targeted. Major Brazilian news sites said the principal suspect was Maggi, Temer’s agriculture chief and a former governor of Mato Grosso. An AFP photographer saw police leave Maggi’s Brasilia home, carrying a computer.
Police were serving a search warrant issued by the supreme court, which handles cases involving ministers and other federal-level politicians.
In the warrant, published by G1 news site, Maggi is accused of "crimes of obstruction of an investigation into a criminal organisation" in his home state.
In addition to his political career, Maggi owns a soybean empire, harvesting and exporting the commodity, earning himself the nickname Soya King. He has angered environmental protection groups which accuse of him of destroying Amazon forests.
About a third of Temer’s cabinet and several of his close allies in the centre-right PMDB party are already under investigation for corruption. The president himself is fighting multiple allegations of corruption and prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot is widely expected to file an obstruction of justice criminal charge against the leader by the end of this week.