Moro and Lava Jato Tried to Interfere in Venezuela's Internal Affairs

New leaks published by Brazilian media show that former Judge Sergio Moro instructed the prosecutors involved in Operation Lava Jato to reveal information (under summary secrecy) on the company Odebrecht about corruption in Venezuela.

The messages, published on the website The Intercept and analyzed by the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo and the webpage reveal that Lava Jato members mobilized to interfere in Venezuela's domestic policy by exposing information, after being instructed by Moro, who is the incumbent Minister of Justice in the Jair Bolsonaro administration, on Augusto 2017.

According to the report, the intention of disclosing secret information against the legitimate administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which is not the role of the Federal Public Ministry, would take place at a very sensitive time.

In July 2017, the United States threatened Maduro with new sanctions and at the time, Brazil still had normal relations with Venezuela.

According to other journalistic sources, the non-authorized revelation of confidential information by Brazilian prosecutors might theoretically characterize the crime established in Article 325 of the Penal Code, which punishes public agents with prison sentences of up to two years for 'revealing the facts that they are dealing with and that must kept secret, or facilitating their revelation'.

'Perhaps it is time to publicize Odebrecht's information about bribes in Venezuela,' former Judge Moro said at the time.

In response, Prosecutor and Lava Jato Coordinator Deltan Dallagnoll said, 'I agree. There are some limitations in the agreement so we have to see how we do it. Even more, I think it is time to file charges here for international money laundering against those responsible there if there is evidence'.

As Moro and Dallagnol articulated the charges against Venezuela, the members of the Lava Jato working team expressed concern about the risks.

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Brazil's Lula Faces More Charges and Possible Imprisonment

The former president's defense team said the fresh charges were part of a campaign “to destroy the image of the most popular former president in the country's history.”

Brazil's Supreme Court approved a request to probe former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva alleged involvement in a corruption ring involving the state-run oil company.

RELATED: The former president's defense team said the fresh charges were part of a campaign “to destroy the image of the most popular former president in the country's history.”

Brazil's Supreme Court approved a request to probe former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva alleged involvement in a corruption ring involving the state-run oil company.

RELATED: Amid Crisis, Post-Coup Brazil Votes in Local Elections

The top court also approved a request by prosecutors to split the investigation of dozens of politicians implicated in the sprawling Petrobras corruption scandal by grouping them by the main parties that prosecutors allege received kickbacks.

In a decision made public on Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki agreed to the request by Brazil's chief prosecutor Rodrigo Janot that the investigation be divided into four probes focusing on the Workers Party (PT), which was ousted from government in August, the Progressive Party (PP) and the PMDB in the Senate and in the lower chamber.

Justice Teori Zavascki authorized the inclusion of Lula into the list of PT politicians under investigation for alleged membership in the embezzlement ring at the state-run oil company.According to a report by Cuba Debate, the Supreme Court also approved a resolution that would see those charged to be held in preventative detention as their case proceeds.

Should Sergio Moro — the controversial judge overseeing the corruption probe — decide to proceed with the case against Lula, the former president could be jailed.

That would spell disaster for Lula's political future, as it would limit his ability to run in presidential elections in 2018. 

Lula, who denies all wrongdoing, has previously said that his persecution is driven by political interests who want to prevent his candidacy.

However, the court's decision to approve the separation of the investigation by political parties is also seen as bad news for de facto President Michel Temer because it will focus the investigation directly on politicians of his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.

RELATED: Brazil's Coup Government Set to Privatize 34 Public Companies

Among the politicians who will be under the new spotlight is the leader of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, whose help Temer needs to pass an austerity program through Congress.

In an earlier announcement, police said Lula will face additional charges connected to a case involving contracts obtained by building and engineering conglomerate Odebrecht in Angola. Under Brazilian law, only prosecutors can formally charge someone after a police investigation and those charges must then be approved by a judge.

Lula has already been charged twice in connection to a massive anti-corruption investigation centered on state oil company Petrobras.

The former president's defense team criticized the leak of the charges to the press and said it was another example of the “media massacre campaign to make headlines in the press and try to destroy the image of the most popular former president in the country's history.”

 
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