Brazil police arrest 15 in Sao Paulo highway probe

 Brazil police arrest 15 in Sao Paulo highway probe

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian authorities executed 15 arrest warrants on Thursday as part of an investigation into alleged corruption in highway contracts in the state of Sao Paulo, according to a statement from federal prosecutors and police.

One of the targets was Laurence Casagrande Lourenco, former head of state-run Dersa, the company in charge of Sao Paulo's highways, court documents showed. Lourenco is currently the head of state-run utility Companhia Energetica de Sao Paulo SA , widely known as Cesp.

He also served as transport and logistics secretary for former Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin, now a centrist presidential candidate polling in the single-digits in recent surveys.

It could not be immediately determined if Lourenco is represented by an attorney. Cesp did not return a request for comment.

Prosecutors said in the statement that targets included "former executives of Dersa, and executives of construction firms OAS and Mendes Junior" , among others.

Under the alleged scheme, Sao Paulo's state government was over-billed more than 600 million reais ($158 million) for construction works on a major highway that rings metropolitan Sao Paulo.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; writing by Gram Slattery; editing by G Crosse and Leslie Adler)

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Updated Date: Jun 22, 2018 01:06:00 IST