Anti-corruption raids on properties linked to Brazil ex-FM

Nunes was Brazil's foreign minister between 2016 and 2018

Brazilian police on Tuesday raided several properties linked to a former foreign minister, Aloysio Nunes, as part of a sprawling anti-corruption probe that has already claimed dozens of political and corporate scalps.

The police operation across seven states also resulted in the head of the country's National Confederation of Industry, Robson Andrade, being taken into custody.

The swoops were the latest phase of a probe called "Car Wash" that, in part, investigated bribes paid by Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to secure public contracts.

The federal police said in a statement that they were acting on suspicion of "the existence of a complex and sophisticated method" to launder some $60 million in 2010 and 2011.

It allegedly involved a financial operator close to Nunes' PSDB party, Paulo Vieira de Souza, who is already in custody.

The investigation also delved into "illicit transactions" made since 2007, including one for $310,000 into a Swiss account controlled by Vieira da Souza.

Nunes, 73, in comments to TV Globo denied taking part in any scheme involving Odebrecht.

He was foreign minister between 2016 and 2018 and a senator up until last month when a new Congress took over.

The alleged payments under scrutiny took place when he was part of the state government of Sao Paulo. He currently holds a post as head of an investment agency in the same state.