Brazilian Feds target big law firms accused of corruption

Prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro claim high-profile law firms have become fronts for money-laundering schemes or for paying kickbacks to judges

law firms brazil corruption
Image: Mangsaabguru/Shutterstock

One of the most common legal strategies in Brazil is not taught in any law school and left out of the textbooks. It is known in Portuguese as “embargos auriculares,” something that could be translated as “close-to-ear appeal.” The expression is a derogatory way of describing a common practice in courts — when lawyers visit judges’ chambers and sweet-talk them into a favorable ruling. It implies that counselors use more than their words to get their way, offering some sort of under-the-table deal.

This week, Operation Car Wash launched a new set of charges against big law firms, suggesting...

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