By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The 21st phase of the Lava Jato (Car wash) investigation started early Tuesday morning with Brazil’s Federal Police executing 53 search warrants including on the two residences of Chamber of Deputies’ President, Eduardo Cunha, Chamber offices and the residences of two Cabinet members, a senator and a Congressional representative.
The warrants were issued by a Supreme Court Judge at the request of federal prosecutors. According to Brazil’s Federal Police (PF) the search warrants were issued so that ‘important evidence (in the mega-corruption scandal) would not be destroyed by those being investigated’.
The PF’s official twitter account stated that all those involved in this latest phase of the Lava-Jato scandal are ‘being investigated for corruption, money-laundering and criminal organization’.
In addition the PF was authorize to seize any assets or goods that were possibly obtained through criminal activities. Daily O Globo, reported that at least twelve police officers in three vehicles went to Cunha’s residence in Brasilia and that among items seized was the Chamber President’s cellular telephone. Police officers were also reported at Cunha’s Rio de Janeiro apartment.
Among those whose residences and offices were searched, according to Globo were Congressional representative Anibal Gomes, Science and Technology Minister, Celso Pansera, Senator and former Energy Minister Edison Lobão, and Tourism Minister Henrique Eduardo Alves, all from Cunha’s PMDB party. A search warrant was also issued for the home of former Transpetro president Sergio Machado.
All the PMDB politicians involved in this latest investigation are said to be allies of Eduardo Cunha, a former ally of the Rousseff Administration and today one of its fiercest adversaries. Cunha earlier in the month accepted the request for the start of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.