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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe Americas“Keep it Confidential”: The Secret History of U.S. Involvement in Brazil’s Scandal-Wracked...

“Keep it Confidential”: The Secret History of U.S. Involvement in Brazil’s Scandal-Wracked Operation Car Wash

Authors: Andrew Fishman, Natalia Viana, Maryam Saleh 

Affiliation: The Intercept

Organization/Publisher: The Intercept

Date/Place: March 12, 2020/New York City

Type of Literature: Special Investigation Report

Word Count: 5654  


Keywords: Brazil, Car Wash Scandal, US Justice Department, American Imperialism


This article is part thirteen of an ongoing series by The Intercept extracting information from the largest secret archive obtained by any media outlet in the world regarding the infamous Operation Car Wash, an active corruption probe organized by the Federal Police of Brazil since March 2014. Operation Car Wash is the largest criminal investigation in the country’s history. It has revealed bribes and kickbacks through Petrobras, the state oil company, to many politicians and company executives both inside and outside Brazil. The most controversial development so far is the conviction of the former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The Intercept has demonstrated that the once celebrated corruption investigation is wrought with political bias and unethical behavior. The current article reveals the ways the United States Justice Department is able to influence the Brazilian prosecutors. The members of the Car Wash team met with members of a US delegation without notifying proper government authorities. This violates both Brazilian law and a bilateral treaty agreement between the two countries. By not using the proper channels, the US was able to interfere in the investigation and achieve goals that were not in Brazil’s best interest. The US Department of Justice was able to obtain plea deals worth 8 billion dollars with companies and individuals who violated American law. According to bilateral agreements, a portion of this money was owed to Brazil. However, the chats reveal that prosecutors facilitated illegal cooperation with the US in order to redirect the money towards dubious political goals.

By: M. Üveys Han, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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