Brazil police arrest ex-meatpacking executive in graft probe

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian police have arrested a former chairman of the world's largest meatpacker whose testimony was central to allegations of corruption against the president.

The GBR public relations firm confirmed that former JBS chairman Joesley Batista was arrested Friday, as was a former executive at the holding company that controls JBS.

The arrests are part of an investigation into corruption at the Agriculture Ministry in 2014-2015. Police say they are serving 17 other arrest warrants Friday.

JBS executives have testified in plea bargain agreements that the company paid bribes to secure political favors, including to President Michel Temer. Temer denies wrongdoing.

But prosecutors have since accused Batista of withholding information and revoked his deal.

His lawyer Andre Callegari expressed surprise at Batista's arrest, saying his client was cooperating with investigators.