Eight held in Dominican Rep. in Odebrecht graft probe

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Eight held in Dominican Rep. in Odebrecht graft probe

Santo Domingo (AFP) - Police arrested eight people including a government minister in the Dominican Republic on Monday in a corruption probe into disgraced Brazilian firm Odebrecht, prosecutors said.

They were the latest arrests in a graft scandal spanning several Latin American countries which has caused political ructions in Brazil.

The Dominican Republic's Trade and Industry Minister Juan Temistocles Montas was among those arrested in dawn raids on the Caribbean nation, a source in the public prosecution service told AFP.

He served previously as economy and planning minister during part of a period in which the company has admitted paying $92 million in bribes to gain contracts in the country.

The company built roads, bridges, dams, aqueducts and an electricity plant in the country.

The others arrested on Monday included various former ministers and public officials.

The prosecutors said this month they had received testimony from former Odebrecht executives who are cooperating with Brazilian investigators in the hope of lighter sentences.