By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The new Justice Minister in Brazil, Torquato Jardim, said during a press conference that he would not hinder the Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigations and that the operation is a ‘state program’. Jardim was sworn in as the new minister by Brazil’s President Michel Temer on Wednesday, replacing Osmar Serraglio.
“Lava Jato is a state program, it is no longer a government, a public prosecutor’s office, nor a judicial or an executive program. It is the will of the State,” Jardim told a room full of journalists.
According to the new Minister the investigations are a demand from the Brazilian society. “No country in the world investigates its institutions with the intensity and vigor with which Brazil is doing,” added Jardim.
Jardim stated that even if there is a change in the investigation’s command, the replacement will not hinder prosecutors from looking into new accusations. “Brazil is an institution, no matter who it is in Lava Jato… the investigation will continue,” concluded President Temer’s new Justice Minister.
Former Minister, Osmar Serraglio, did not attend the swearing in ceremony. Earlier in the week Serraglio refused President Temer’s offer to nominate him as Transparency Minister (in the position of outgoing Jardim), and is said to be going back to finish his mandate as a representative at the Chamber of Deputies.
With his return to the Chamber, President Temer’s special advisor, Rodrigo Rocha Loures, who served as a representative in Serraglio’s seat loses his Congressional mandate and the right to a privileged forum. With that, he can be arrested at any time for his links to the Lava Jato scandal.
Loures was filmed carrying a suitcase with R$500,000 that, according to investigators, was sent by former JBS CEO, Joesley Batista, as a bribe.