Brazilian police are questioning former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva after raiding his home and several associated buildings in a search for evidence as part of an ongoing corruption investigation.

The detention of the influential Workers’ party politician – who is best known by his nickname Lula – marks a dramatic new phase of the Lava Jato (“carwash”) inquiry into bribery and kickback allegations involving leading Brazilian companies and dozens of congressmen.

The huge investigation – easily the biggest in the country’s history – initially focused on corruption and money laundering at the oil company Petrobras but has since widened to include construction and brokerage firms.

It is likely to add to the pressure on the government of Dilma Rousseff, who is already struggling with an impeachment challenge, economic recession and the Zika epidemic.

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