In his last interview before his arrest on Wednesday morning, Brazilian billionaire banker André Esteves gave no hint of any impending trouble. “We are in a tough moment,” the relaxed “carioca”, as those born in Rio de Janeiro are known, told the FT in an interview in mid-November. He was referring to Brazil’s sinking economy. But now the former systems analyst, who rose from a middle-class family to co-found BTG Pactual, Latin America’s biggest independent investment bank, is facing his own crisis, one that has the potential to unravel his empire and torpedo Brazil’s economy. The charismatic entrepreneur, who was the bold face of Brazilian finance during the country’s boom years of the first decade of the century, is accused of trying to obstruct justice in a vast corruption investigation into Petrobras, the state-owned oil company.