By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the early hours of Thursday, November 10th, the immense Lava Jato corruption investigation entered its 36th phase, titled Operação Dragão (Operation Dragon). The day began with over ninety federal police officers scouring the states of São Paulo, Paraná and Ceará, handing out sixteen search warrants and two arrest warrants.
According to the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), Operation Dragon collected ample evidence that various entities throughout the country used sophisticated mechanisms of money laundering, including the use of offshore bank accounts, front companies and false contracts.
One of the warrants issued was for businessman and lobbyist, Adir Assad. Assad at one time was one the country’s top music promoters, credited with having brought artists such as U2 and Beyoncé to Brazil.
Originally, arrested in the 10th phase of Lava Jato, Assad had already been behind bars in Curitiba for money laundering. However, he had been serving out a ten-year sentence under house arrest, until Judge Sérgio Moro sent him back to prison in August 2015 to finish out his sentence.
Another warrant was for lawyer Rodrigo Tacla Duran, who according to prosecutors, was responsible for washing tens of millions of reais through offshore entities controlled by him.
Investigators also confirmed that they have discovered a link between the Assad and Duran with Assad having issued a R$24 million payment to Duran as well as an additional R$2.9 million payment made to a company connected to Duran.
The MPF revealed that several companies are being served on Thursday, including Econorte, in Londrina, and Construtora Triunfo, in Curitiba.