Lava Jato changes the justice and the law

Joaquim Falcão – Folha de S. Paulo, 7/31/2015

Major investigations on corruption are changing Brazil’s justice system for the better.

A new, pragmatic generation of judges, prosecutors and police investigators put facts above doctrine. Brazil’s criminal Justice will not be the same after the Mensalão scandal – a congressional vote buying scheme tried in the country’s Supreme Court in 2012 – and the ongoing Lava Jato operation on massive fraud committed against state oil giant Petrobras. The unprecedented sentencing to jail terms of previously powerful government officials and members of Congress, in the Mensalão case, has created expectations and voters pressure for outcomes in the more serious Petrolão scandal.

Changes have occurred both in the practice of law by judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers, as well as in the doctrines and the courts, reflecting a generational change among Brazilian federal judges, prosecutors, and investigators. They are younger and have joined the judicial system at an earlier stage of their lives. They grew up in era of era of democracy and freedom of the press, decadence of traditional political parties and a society increasingly indignant about private appropriation of public goods. They are prone to protect the public’s interest and have no fear to carry out their constitutional duties.

Read original article in Portuguese here

Lava Jato Investigations will continue, as painful as it may be

Eliane Cantanhêde and Andreza Matais – O Estado de S.Paulo, 7/04/2015

Andre Dusek/Estadao

Photo by Andre Dusek/Estadao

A man of few words, the director-general of the Federal Brazilian Police, Leandro Daiello came out of anonymity to state, in an interview to Estado that no one will be exempt from the law. The ongoing investigations will proceed even if they lead to President Rousseff or former President Lula, he said. “We investigate facts, not people. Where those facts take us is a consequence of the investigation itself, as painful as it may be”.

Originally from the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, Daiello has been and director-general of the Brazilian equivalent to the FBI since 2011. He used the expression “as painful as it may be” three times during the interview, to make clear that the Federal Police is an independent institution with solid rules of conduct, and that investigations are to continue “with or without José Eduardo Cardozo as justice minister, and with or without Daiello leading the Federal Police”.

Continue reading “Lava Jato Investigations will continue, as painful as it may be”

Brazil opens inquiry into claims of wrongdoing by ex-president

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 04/06/2013

Brazil’s Public Ministry, a body of independent public prosecutors, has begun an investigation into a claim connecting former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to a vast vote-buying scheme that involved the channeling of funds to the governing Workers’ Party.

The inquiry, which was announced in the capital, Brasília, on Friday and comes after several months of analyzing testimony, opens a new phase in what has arguably been Brazil’s largest corruption scandal, already involving the conviction of Mr. da Silva’s powerful former chief of staff, José Dirceu de Oliveira e Silva, on conspiracy and bribery charges last year.

The move by the Public Ministry, which asked the federal police to carry out the investigation, is thought to be the first time that Mr. da Silva has been directly investigated in connection to the scheme, called the mensalão, or big monthly allowance, for the regular payments that some lawmakers received. The scandal emerged in 2005, during Mr. da Silva’s first term as president. At 67, he remains a towering figure in Brazilian politics.

Read more…

Calls for an investigation into Brazil’s ex-leader

Bradley Brooks – AP, 12/13/2012

Pressure is growing for prosecutors to open an investigation into popular former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva amid new accusations he knew about a cash-for-votes in Congress scheme that has seen convictions of 25 people, including his one-time chief of staff.

Silva, who left office in 2010 with an 87 percent approval rating and was once called “the most popular politician on Earth” by President Barack Obama, has so far dodged accusations against him. He denies any wrongdoing in what is seen as the biggest corruption case in Brazil’s history.

But now newspaper editorials, opposition politicians and some average Brazilian voters are saying they want to see the Attorney General’s Office order an investigation into allegations made by a top figure in the corruption case that Silva approved of the scheme and used cash from it while in office.

Read more….

Will Brazil’s ‘mensalao’ corruption trial bring change?

Joao Fellet, Alessandra Correa – BBC Brasil, 12/07/2012

When, four months ago, Brazil’s Supreme Court began to judge one of the largest political scandals in the country’s recent history, many wondered if the trial could really deliver a decisive blow against corruption.

As the case approaches its end, a total of 25 out of 37 defendants have been convicted, some of them key political figures.

There is still room for those who were convicted to appeal, but few think the court will change its ruling and absolve them.

Read more…

Brazil faces a new corruption scandal

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 11/30/2012

Even as President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil has moved energetically to stamp out corruption in her government, a new scandal is surging to the fore, centered on charges of influence peddling by an aide to the popular former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The latest revelations have put the governing Workers Party on the defensive yet again, as investigators expose a bribery scheme across several high echelons of government.

The scheme largely involved selling falsified public documents needed for transportation projects, and it extended into the attorney general’s office, the Education Ministry and the regulatory agencies for civil aviation and ports, according to the federal police, which carried out raids of government offices here in São Paulo and in the capital, Brasília, in recent days.

Read more…

New Corruption Charges Hit Brazil’s Ruling Party

John Lyons – The Wall Street Journal, 11/28/2012

In Brazil, fresh corruption charges are threatening to shake the Workers Party of President Dilma Rousseff anew, even as judges are doling out jail terms in a previous embezzlement scandal that brought down senior party officials and tarred the legacy of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

On Wednesday, the senate said it would hold hearings into the new allegations on an undetermined date and call the country’s justice minister and attorney general to testify. The two aren’t suspected of wrongdoing.

So far, Federal Police have charged a group of officials, including a one-time aide to Mr. da Silva, in a cash-for-influence scheme that appears to have reached into numerous government agencies. The aide, Rosemary Noronha, was appointed presidential chief of staff for Sao Paulo by Mr. da Silva and held that position until she was fired on Saturday after the charges against her were unveiled.

Read more…