FILE - Fernando Segovia gestures during a ceremony in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 20, 2017.
FILE - Fernando Segovia gestures during a ceremony in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 20, 2017.

BRASÍLIA - Fernando Segovia, the director general of Brazil's federal police who spearheaded the country's sprawling corruption cases, was replaced Tuesday, the press office of the newly created Public Security Ministry said in a statement.

Segovia, who took office in November, came under pressure from prosecutors, federal police investigators and local media after he told Reuters in an interview earlier this month that a bribery investigation into President Michel Temer had found no evidence of corruption.

Segovia was told by Raul Jungmann, the former defense minister who on Tuesday was sworn in as minister of public security, that he was being replaced by Rogerio Galloro, who has spent more than two decades with the federal police, including a 2011-2013 stint as the organization's representative in the United States.

Brazil's President Michel Temer, right, talks with
FILE - Brazil's President Michel Temer, right, talks with Defense Minister Raul Jungmann during his arrival to attend a meeting of the Defense Military Council, in Brasilia, Brazil, Feb. 22, 2018.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact Segovia for comment.

Brazil's crackdown on graft in recent years has led to scores of convictions of senior politicians, government officials and corporate executives, inspiring many Brazilians to believe that a longstanding culture of impunity was changing.

It also helped spawn similar crackdowns elsewhere in Latin America.

But criticism of Segovia has been sharp since he was nominated to the position by Temer in November.

Raquel Dodge, Brazil's top prosecutor, on Monday requested the Supreme Court issue an order to prevent Segovia from interfering in the criminal investigation that could result in new corruption charges against Temer.

Charges against Temer

That request related to the investigation Segovia discussed in his interview with Reuters. Authorities are probing whether Temer accepted bribes in exchange for extending a concession last year for operating services in the Port of Santos, Latin America's busiest container port.

The port investigation is separate from other corruption cases that have resulted in charges, but no trials or convictions, against Temer.

Congress voted twice to block him from standing trial on those prior charges while in office. Temer could face trial once he leaves the presidency.

Brazil's former top prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, under whom the country's unprecedented anti-corruption push began, told Reuters in a December interview that "Segovia was named to complete a mission — to divert the focus of the investigations."

Segovia rejected the criticism at that time and said he would strengthen the fight against corruption.