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FILE PHOTO Brazilian Governor Sergio Cabral of Rio de Janeiro (R) listens to former Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa during a meeting in Bogota, Colombia, March 23, 2007. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File photo(reuters_tickers)
BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian federal police arrested the former governor of Rio de Janeiro state on Thursday as part of an investigation into the embezzlement of 220 million reais ($64 mln) in public work projects, a police spokesman said.
Sergio Cabral is the highest-profile politician to be arrested in recent months amid a massive anti-corruption investigation that has rattled Brazil's political and business establishment.
Cabral and his lawyers were not immediately available for comment.
A police statement said officers were carrying out 10 arrest warrants and 14 search and seizure orders in relation to the probe, though it did not name those targeted.
Cabral's arrest came just a day after another former Rio governor, Anthony Garotinho, was arrested for alleged voter fraud in a state struggling with a gruelling fiscal crisis and shaken by anti-austerity protests.
The state that earlier this year hosted the summer Olympics is now struggling to pay its employees and maintain basic public services such as security.
Cabral served as governor from 2007 till 2014, when he quit amid suspicions of corruption and growing street demonstrations against him.
The anti-corruption investigation, dubbed the "Car Wash" operation, initially centred on graft at state-run oil company Petrobras but led to political upheaval that ultimately toppled leftist President Dilma Rousseff earlier this year on charges of doctoring the public accounts.
Cabral was a close ally of Rousseff and also a member of her successor Michel Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB).
(Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Gareth Jones)