Brazilian police have dismantled a corruption ring whose members allegedly included at least two high-ranking government officials.
Six people were arrested in Sao Paulo and Brasilia on Friday and a total of 18 suspects are under investigation for crimes including fraud, document forgery and influence-peddling.
Federal Police officers conducted raids at the Regional Office of the Presidency in Sao Paulo during the operation, several Brazilian media outlets reported.
The media reports said one of the individuals under investigation is the Cabinet chief of the Regional Office of the Presidency in Sao Paulo, Rosemary Novoa de Noronha, although the Federal Police has not released the names of any suspects.
The two high-ranking officials being investigated worked at the National Water Agency and the National Civil Aviation Agency, the Federal Police's superintendent in Sao Paulo, Roberto Troncon Filho, said in a press conference, though he added that they acted without the knowledge of their superiors.
The corruption ring was composed of these two officials and four other people, who offered to expedite paperwork for business leaders and drew up "tailor-made" technical reports for private interests, Troncon said.
The corruption scheme also extended to the National Aquatic Transport Agency, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Federal Assets Division, the federal accountability office and the Education Ministry.
The investigation was launched in March after a public official told authorities he was offered 300,000 reais ($145,000) to prepare a favorable technical report for a business group.
The functionary initially accepted and received a third of the total as an advance payment, but later repented, returned the money and reported the bribe to police. EFE