Federal police in Brazil are investigating the country's energy minister for potential links to a widespread corruption scheme.

Several Brazilian news outlets have reported that police suspect Silas Rondeau may have received a 100,000 reais (about €38,000) kickback from a construction company that won a government contract to bring electricity to poor households throughout the country.

Mr Rondeau has denied any involvement in the scheme.

'You cannot prove a lie,' Mr Rondeau said in Paraguay, where he is travelling with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The investigation is the latest twist in a police crackdown on government corruption.

In the last five days, police have arrested almost 50 people, including a senior aide to Mr Rondeau, on charges of embezzling money from big public works projects.

This is not the first time that high-ranking officials in the Lula administration have been accused of corruption.

The government has spent a good part of the last three years fending off corruption allegations that led to the resignation of Lula's former chief of staff and his finance minister.