Guide to Brazil

Operation Car Wash: from gas stations to the heart of the Republic

Brazil protests operation car wash
Demonstrations in favor of Operation Car Wash. Photo: Milleo

Early in the morning on March 17, 2014, federal marshals launched the so-called Operation Car Wash. A group of detectives had been investigating a gang that had used a gas station just three kilometers away from Congress as a front for money laundering schemes. But what began as a small, unpublicized operation would later evolve into Brazil’s biggest-ever corruption scandal – which has so far implicated 1,203 people, including every single major political party, the country’s most popular politician, and the sitting President of the Republic.

Operation Car Wash has put the Federal Prosecution Office at odds with the presidency...

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