Operation Car Wash was a criminal investigation by the Federal Police of Brazil. It started in March 2914, initially headed by investigative judge Sergio Moro followed by Judge Luiz Antônio Bonat in 2019. It is credited with the largest corruption investigation in the country’s history. The investigation is called “Operation Car Wash” because it was first uncovered at a car wash in Brasília. Its investigations centered around the state-owned oil company Petrobras and it senior administrative officials. High level politicians including presidents of the Republic, presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate, state governors, and businessmen from large Brazilian companies came under the scrutiny of the Operation Car Wash.

The investigations started on money laundering as evidence of it was found in a car wash in Brasília. Then the investigations expanded to cover allegations of corruption at Petrobras, where executives allegedly accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices.

Operation car wash revealed that at least eleven other countries were involved in corruption, mostly in Latin America, and the Brazilian company Odebrecht was deeply implicated.

However, documents leaked in June 2019 to The Intercept suggest that Judge Sergio Moro may have wanted to prevent Lula’s Workers Party from winning the 2018 elections.

According to Prosecutor General the Car Wash task force was responsible for 295 arrests, 278 convictions and $803 million in ill-gotten gains being returned to the state during its roughly seven years of operation.

The Prosecutor General announced that the Car Wash anti-corruption squad would be disbanded with effect from 1 February 2021.

Officials from Rio de Janeiro’s public prosecutor, in December 2019, searched properties linked to friends and other family members of Jair Bolsonaro, including his ex-wife, Ana Cristina Valle, and his former father-in-law and sister-in-law.

The government’s watchdog for financial transactions also detected suspicious activities in a bank account controlled by Jair Bolsonaro’s friend and former driver, as well as Senator Flávio Bolsonaro’s former security chief and aide, Fabricio Queiroz. Flávio is the son of the president Jair Bolsonaro. When the country’s legal and anti-corruption agencies investigated his son Flavio, Bolsonaro changed the federal police chief to prevent further investigations..

Some suggest that the car wash program was disbanded to prevent further investigations into the corruption of the presidential family.

There are several previous posts relating to Operation Car Wash in Corruption.net. You will get them if you search for ‘Operation Car Wash’.

Source: Reuters, Wikipedia, OCCRP