Operation Car Wash

operation that has led to numerous investigations into Petrobras regarding alleged corruption and payment of kickbacks

Operation Car Wash (Portuguese: Operação Lava Jato) is an ongoing criminal investigation by the Federal Police of Brazil, Curitiba Branch. It was initially judicially headed by Judge Sérgio Moro, and in 2019 by Judge Luiz Antonio Bonat.[1]

It was a money laundering investigation, it expanded to investigate corruption at Petrobras, where executives allegedly accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices.[2] The investigation is called "Operation Car Wash" because it was first uncovered at a car wash in Brasília.

At least eleven other countries, mostly in Latin America, were involved, and the Brazilian company Odebrecht was deeply implicated.[3]

Lava Jato indicted and jailed some well-known politicians, including former presidents Fernando Collor de Mello, Michel Temer and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Other South American presidents were also implicated such as Peru's Ollanta Humala, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Alan Garcia.

During the governments of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Néstor Kirchner, Odebrecht was awarded overvalued contracts worth at least US$9.6 billion.[4]


  1. "Luiz Antonio Bonat é confirmado na antiga vaga de Moro" [Luiz Antonio Bonat is Confirmed in Moro's Old Position] (in Portuguese).
  2. Connors, Will (6 April 2015). "How Brazil's 'Nine Horsemen' Cracked a Bribery Scandal". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  3. Kurtenbach, S., & Nolte, D. (2017). Latin America’s Fight against Corruption: The End of Impunity. GIGA Focus Lateinamerika, (03).
  4. "A freer press online: Latin America’s new media are growing up", The Economist 14 July 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.