By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s federal police started Friday morning (November 14th) enforcing 36 arrest warrants and 49 search and seizure orders in the cities of Paraná, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, and Brasilia, as part of the on-going investigations into a multi-million reais money-laundering scheme known as ‘Operação Lava Jato’ (Operation Carwash).

Former Petrobras director,Paulo Roberto Costa, was one of the first arrested in Lava Jato operation, photo by Geraldo Magela/Agencia Brasil
Former Petrobras director,Paulo Roberto Costa, was one of the first arrested in Lava Jato operation, photo by Geraldo Magela/Agencia Brasil

Among those arrested are Renato Duque (former Petrobras Services director), João Ricardo Auler (President of the Board at construction company Camargo Correa), Dalton dos Santos Avancini and Eduardo Hermelino Leite (president and vice-president respectively of Camargo Correa).

Also Sérgio Cunha Mendes (vice-president of construction company Mendes Júnior), Gerson de Mello Almada (vice-president of Engevix), Valdir Lima Carreiro (president of infrastructure company IESA Oil & Gas), José Aldemário Pinheiro Filho (president of construction company OAS) and Ildefonso Colares Filho (director-president of construction company Queiroz Galvão).

In all three hundres federal agents were on hand at different locations throughout the country. The courts also blocked approximately R$720 million worth in assets belonging to the 36 individuals.

For opposition leader, Senator Aecio Neves, defeated in this year’s presidential campaign, the irregularities are clear signs of the irresponsibility of the government, “The irresponsibility of this government is denigrating the image and history of our greatest company, setting up according to the Federal Police a criminal organization,” he said to reporters on Friday after a meeting with PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) officials.

The Operation Lava Jato was launched in March of 2014 with the objective of dismantling criminal organizations which were involved in money laundering schemes and other crimes against Brazil’s financial system. The operation’s name is an allusion to the use of a network of laundrettes and gas stations by the group to convert money from illegal activities into legitimate funds.

Former Petrobras director, Paulo Roberto Costa, arrested at the beginning of the operation in March, entered a plea-bargaining deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence by naming some of those who benefited from the schemes while he was a director at Petrobras (2004-2012).


  1. “Behind every fortune lies a great crime.” Mr. Neves comes from a long line of crooks, I mean politicians. Oh well; same difference. Go ahead, blame the government which you are a part of. The only difference you might have made would have been to protect your wealthy friends and gone after the petty thieves who populate the favelas. Neves, you’re just another hypocritical politician.

  2. Words of anger towards the opposition formed around Aécio doesn’t change a single bit the situation Brazil is facing now and is in danger of facing in the near future. Nor does blank votes or null votes which were over 7 million. Unfortunately, Aécio is not perfect but is the option available to oppose to what is going on in Brazil.

  3. Cleaning up Petrobras and making it whole must be high priority for the government. Theft simply cannot be allowed to happen by politicians or management. A cleaner financial system means a more robust economy, a stronger currency and a better life for the majority of Brazilians.
    It is such a shame that we don’t learn from history.


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