Latin America

Operation Car Wash leaves trail of disarray around Latin America

The probe spilled over into other countries, particularly Peru, where the government was tied up in the Odebrecht bribery scandal

corruption latin america car wash investigation
Protests in Peru (2020): “All Power Comes from the People,” reads sign. Photo: Samantha Hare/Correliebre

Operation Car Wash was the biggest anti-corruption effort in Brazil’s history. Across over six years of activities, the probe sentenced 165 people for crimes of corruption, investigated some 500 others, and recovered BRL 4 billion (USD 740 million) to the public treasury.

The sheer size and scope of Operation Car Wash saw its investigations spill over Brazil’s borders and into its Latin American neighbors. As the probe grew and spread, it led to the arrest of six former presidents in Peru, Panama, and El Salvador, as well as Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Michel Temer....

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