Brazil's Prosecutor-General Asks For Investigations on 83 Politicians

Brazil’s Prosecutor-General Asks For The Investigation of 83 Politicians

The list includes members of the government's cabinet, governors, and congressmen
Brazil Politics

As a Brazil’s Prosecutor-General Rodrigo Janot has asked the Supreme Court to investigate 83 high-profile politicians. They have been implicated in the Petrobras corruption scandal by former executives of Brazil’s largest construction firm, Odebrecht.

While the names of these 83 politicians are still under secrecy, sources have confirmed that they include members of the federal cabinet, governors, and congressmen.

Janot has also demanded that the Supreme Court send 211 other requests to lower courts. According to Brazilian law, only the Supreme Court can prosecute and try politicians at the federal level. All other “common” people face to normal courts.

While the names on the list remain under secrecy, we know that five cabinet members, two former Presidents, and the heads of both Congressional houses are on the list. Here are the most important names on “Janot’s List,” as the requests have been nicknamed.

  • Former Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff
  • House Speaker Rodrigo Maia
  • Senate President Eunício Oliveira
  • Cabinet Members: Aloysio Nunes (Foreign Affairs), Eliseu Padilha (Chief of Staff), Moreira Franco (Secretary General), Bruno Araujo (Cities), Gilberto Kassab (Communications)

Lobbying for amnesty

Operation Car Wash has put traditional political rivals on the same side. Since illegal campaign funding has been the rule in Brazil for decades, all major parties are pushing for a general amnesty. They claim that the justice system must differentiate between those who have “only” used dirty money for campaigns, and those who have used it for personal gain.

But that’s not how Brazil’s Supreme Court Chief Justice sees it. In the past, Justice Carmén Lúcia has stated that “using dirty money to fund political campaigns is a crime – period.”

While the investigation requests have created havoc in the political establishment, Brazil’s government tries to send a message of  “business as usual.” President Michel Temer’s focus is on approving the pension system reform. Showing any signs of weakness might create a wave of distrust from foreign investors.

Odebrecht’s plea deal

At the end of 2016, Odebrecht decided to collaborate with the investigations into corruption within Petrobras. As a result, 77 former executives gave a total of 950 statements, detailing how the company operated such corruption network.

Although the firm has been under heavy scrutiny since mid-2015, it initially resisted any cooperation with investigations. But, in March 2016, when the Federal Police discovered a division created exclusively to pay bribes, things changed.

For months, executives negotiated a plea bargain to help them avoid longer sentences and lift punishment against the company. Brazil’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the executives signed the plea deal in December.

Executives have implicated most of President Temer’s closest allies, including the president himself. Temer allegedly asked for 10 million Brazilian Reals in cash from Odebrecht executives. Yet Temer denies any wrongdoing, and refers to all contributions as “legal campaign donations.”