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Montevideo, May 8th 2021 - 10:40 UTC

 

 

Brazil ends the Car Wash anti corruption unit, which sent top politicians and business leaders to jail

Thursday, February 4th 2021 - 09:32 UTC
Full article 4 comments
Some of its prosecutors will be transferred to the organized crime unit of the MPF, where they will continue their work, the agency’s statement said. Some of its prosecutors will be transferred to the organized crime unit of the MPF, where they will continue their work, the agency’s statement said.

Brazil’s Car Wash anti-corruption unit has officially been disbanded putting an end for a team of prosecutors that sent dozens of Brazilian and regional political and business leaders to jail, including several former presidents.

The task force, which stemmed from a routine money-laundering investigation into a car wash in the south of Brazil, ceased to exist on Monday, although its dissolution was not announced until Wednesday by the federal prosecutors’ office (MPF).

Some of its prosecutors will be transferred to the organized crime unit of the MPF, where they will continue their work, the agency’s statement said.

The Car Wash squad began its work in 2014, focusing on contracting graft at state-run oil company Petrobras, although its scope quickly expanded. Former presidents and major companies throughout Latin America, thought for years to be untouchable, were implicated in sprawling corruption schemes uncovered by the investigators.

Among prominent figures sent to jail because of the investigation were popular former President Lula da Silva. Outside of Brazil, ex-presidents in Peru, El Salvador and Panama were also jailed as a result of investigations started by the task force. Major international companies, such as Maersk and Glencore, have also come under the investigators’ microscope.

But many had grown wary of the investigation, in part because of the jailing of Lula, while a series of leaked conversations in 2019 raised questions about whether investigators were cutting corners to secure prosecutions.

Corruption probes into family members of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro have made some conservatives suspicious of efforts to fight corruption as well.

That had left the future of Car Wash in doubt, even as its work remained popular among Brazilians. In September, Brazilian Prosecutor-General Augusto Aras extended the task force’s mandate until Jan. 31, but did not say if he would renew it.

According to its own data, the Car Wash task force was responsible for 295 arrests, 278 convictions and 4.3 billion reais (US$ 803 million) in ill-gotten gains being returned to the Brazilian state during its roughly seven years of operation.

Top Comments

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  • Chicureo

    It's impressive that the ”Car Wash task force was responsible for 295 arrests, 278 convictions and 4.3 billion reais (US$ 803 million) in ill-gotten gains being returned to the Brazilian state”

    Imagine if our entire continent adopted a similar task force...

    Feb 04th, 2021 - 03:09 pm 0
  • FortHay

    Agreed. Unfortunately, corruption at all levels continues in Brazil and drains society of immense wealth and resources. Lava Jato was a significant step in the direction of changing the cultural and political mindset of Brazilian society; a process that takes generations.

    Feb 06th, 2021 - 10:37 am 0
  • Chicureo

    FortHay

    In the early '90s I was a part of an investment group that attempted to enter the Argentine table grape business and were encouraged to invest heavily into a new project called “Nueva California” (not Nueva California Vitivinícola) that was a complete fraud that was so well orchestrated it fooled a couple of reputable banks — but when we arrived and field inspected the operation — it was obvious it was a scam.

    Something over USD20 million disappeared and the developers never were prosecuted as the governmental authorities were all paid off.

    Feb 06th, 2021 - 05:11 pm 0
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