Brazil's federal police have arrested a congressman on corruption charges at Sao Paulo's international airport, saying they feared he could try to escape to Paraguay.

A panel of the country's top court this week ordered the arrest of Congressman Joao Rodrigues after his corruption conviction was upheld by a federal court.

Police said on Thursday the deputy was arrested at the airport as he arrived from the United States because he had suddenly changed his final destination to Asuncion, Paraguay's capital.

Rodrigues has been sentenced to five years and three months in jail. He denies any wrongdoing.

The case could be ominous for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose corruption conviction was also upheld by a federal court in January. Both da Silva and Rodrigues are appealing.