Sri Lanka police have arrested former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's brother over alleged misappropriation of state funds.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said the brother, former Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa, was taken before a judge after being arrested Wednesday. He was accused of financial irregularities in a poverty alleviation program run by his former ministry. Two other senior ministry officials were also arrested.

Basil Rajapaksa had vast powers over the country's economy during his brother's presidency. He left for the United States, where he also has citizenship, after his brother's defeat in a January election.

He returned to Sri Lanka on Tuesday in response to a police summons.

Since the new government took office, the bribery commission and police have initiated investigations into alleged corruption during the previous administration.