Top al-Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, arrested in Pakistan last week, spent 20 days in Brazil as a tourist in 1995, Brazilian federal police have said.Mohammed travelled to Sao Paulo's international airport on December 4, 1995 on a Pakistani passport. On December 24 he left for the Netherlands, police records show.

According to intelligence sources within the federal police, there is an investigation under way to verify if Mohammed visited the triple border area where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet.

The area has a strong Moslem community and has been suspected of harbouring terrorist fundraising activity.

Police are going to comb the area ‘to see if there is any possible link between Mohammed and local groups,’ one source said.

Mohammed's capture has been trumpeted as the biggest coup in the US-led, 18-month war on terrorism and has given al-Qaeda hunters a treasure trove of data.

According to Pakistani officials, Mohammed was taken to the US-held airbase of Bagram in Afghanistan.