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Defendants Flee the Country, Getting in the Way of Operation Car Wash Proceedings

11/03/2017 - 10h50

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FELIPE BÄCHTOLD
FROM SÃO PAULO

Lebanon, Portugal and Spain are some of the countries where defendants in the lawsuits that judge Sergio Moro is overseeing have fled to.

Three and a half years have gone by since Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato) was launched, and lawsuits where defendants have either run away or moved abroad have become commonplace, getting in the way of the court's proceedings.

At least seven defendants remain abroad, while another two were sentenced to pre-trial detention but were never found. The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) was summoned in some cases.

Among the defendants, the most notorious is Rodrigo Tacla Duran, who was arrested in Spain during a period, and, from abroad, directed accusations at construction firm Odebrecht as well as a friend of judge Moro.

He is suspected of conducting the distribution of bribe money on behalf of construction firms Odebrecht and UTC.

Mr. Tacla Duran has Spanish citizenship, thus making extradition unviable. Judge Moro is trying to proceed by resorting to international cooperation. However, such lawsuits typically drag out due to practical difficulties.

Among them are factors such as international aid requests and the translation of hundreds of pages worth of documents. The Justice Ministry in Brasília must also intermediate contact between any foreign authority.

The case of Oscar Algorta Raquetti serves as an example. The Uruguayan was accused of laundering money to the benefit of former Petrobras director Nestor Cerveró.

A subpoena was issued in 2015 and carried out in 2016, but after that, the lawsuit did not go forward, nor are there any records of an attorney appointed to the case in Brazil.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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