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Brazil police bust alleged coronavirus corruption racket in Sao Paulo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's federal police on Thursday said it had executed six search and arrest warrants as part of an operation into alleged coronavirus-related corruption in the city of Sao Paulo.

The federal police did not say who the operation had targeted, but said it involved alleged irregularities in the purchase of disposable aprons to supply hospitals managed by the city of Sao Paulo.

The value of the purchases, made without public tender, was 11.1 million reais ($2.10 million), police said.

The alleged crimes included tendering fraud, criminal association, corruption and embezzlement, the police said.

In a statement, the Sao Paulo mayor's office said it "is at the disposal of the Federal Police and the Judiciary to contribute to the investigation related to the Municipal Hospital Authority."

With large amounts of federal and state cash deployed to tackle the coronavirus crisis, fears have risen of increased corruption in Brazil, where graft is already a deep-seated issue.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes; editing by Barbara Lewis and Jonathan Oatis)

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