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New International Aid Brought Fast Pace and Risks to Lava Jato Operation

11/23/2017 - 13h05

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FLÁVIO FERREIRA
FROM SÃO PAULO

The quick cooperation of foreign authorities to provide evidence boosted the investigations of Brazil's Lava Jato operation, especially as the evidence confirmed the content of the plea bargains; however, it also brought risks of annulment which caused concern among those in charge of the case.

The operation promoted the highest flow of international information in the history of Brazilian investigations as it made use of reduced paperwork – which had often impaired the relations with foreign authorities.

In 2014, Brazilian public prosecutors went to Switzerland to obtain elements to confirm facts indicated by the former Supply Director of Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa, in his plea bargain.

The Public Prosecutor's Office of Switzerland had already begun investigations on suspects of the Lava Jato operation based on international news and contacts with Brazil's Public Prosecutor's Office. Public prosecutor Orlando Martello says the same situation occurred in other countries and it was one of the factors that led to the success of the foreign collaborations.

Investigators highlight the contributions that led to the proof of international financial operations attributed to the former president of Brazil's Lower House, Eduardo Cunha.

However, throughout the investigations, defense lawyers searched for technical problems to make evidence coming from overseas illegal. It occurred, for example, in the case of wiretappings that captured BlackBerry mobile text messages.

The defense of former congressman Luiz Argôlo claimed that the wiretappings were illegal as they had not been formally requested as international cooperation with Canada. However, the court did not agree and the evidence was considered valid.

Lawyers say that actions like this often led to violations of suspects' individual guarantees, such as the right to access the content of investigations and preservation of secrecy of personal, fiscal and bank data.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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