The Dirty Residue of Brazil’s Car Wash Probe

On the podcast: The editor in chief of Americas Quarterly explains why investigators are now under scrutiny in Brazil’s largest corruption inquiry.

By , the executive editor for podcasts at Foreign Policy.
Brazil's future Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro, gestures during a national forum on combatting corruption in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 23, 2018. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
Brazil's future Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro, gestures during a national forum on combatting corruption in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 23, 2018. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
Brazil's future Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro, gestures during a national forum on combatting corruption in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 23, 2018. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

Over the past five years, investigators in Brazil have been conducting one of the most sweeping corruption probes in the country’s history. The case, known as Operation Car Wash, has led to indictments against some powerful government officials, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

At the outset, many Brazil watchers hailed Car Wash as an institutional advance for Brazilian democracy, which had long grappled with corruption. But critics have questioned its fairness and suggested it may have been politically biased. In mid-June, leaked messages published by the Intercept appeared to validate some of those concerns.

On First Person this week, we talk to Brian Winter, the editor in chief of Americas Quarterly and a former foreign correspondent in Latin America. Winter has written widely about the Car Wash investigation and has interviewed Sérgio Moro, the judge at the center of the new leaks.

Over the past five years, investigators in Brazil have been conducting one of the most sweeping corruption probes in the country’s history. The case, known as Operation Car Wash, has led to indictments against some powerful government officials, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

At the outset, many Brazil watchers hailed Car Wash as an institutional advance for Brazilian democracy, which had long grappled with corruption. But critics have questioned its fairness and suggested it may have been politically biased. In mid-June, leaked messages published by the Intercept appeared to validate some of those concerns.

On First Person this week, we talk to Brian Winter, the editor in chief of Americas Quarterly and a former foreign correspondent in Latin America. Winter has written widely about the Car Wash investigation and has interviewed Sérgio Moro, the judge at the center of the new leaks.

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