Operation ‘Lava Jato’, the corruption scheme that laundered billions of dollars to and from Brazilian government officials, which has taken more than a year to investigate, now aims all focus to the political sphere of the country.

The operation has already returned $182 million to public coffers and resulted in the arrest of a dozen large construction executives, many of which agreed to cooperate in order to be released from jail, while others are still in prison or house arrest.

A new phase of the operation is underway and led by the Federal Police and the Attorney General’s Office, who have issued 53 injunctions in seven Brazilian states to search for and seize documents and property in the residences of politicians that are being investigated, was well as law firms and offices of public and private companies.

Among those investigated is the former president and current senator Fernando Collor de Mello, who was elected in 1989 after the democratic transition. Collor resigned from the presidency in 1992, one day before his impeachment for his role in a corruption scandal.

Federal agents seized three luxury cars -a red Ferrari, a Porsche and a Lamborghini- and a black suitcase with documents that could prove that the politician is involved in the bribery scheme that took place at Petrobras. The police was also at the headquarters of the broadcaster Gazeta, propert of the Collor de Mello family.

The prosecution believes that the former president received about $ 6.3 million in bribes between 2010 and 2012 to facilitate businesses for a subsidiary of Petrobras BR Distribuidora, along with a construction company known as UTC.

Despite the testimony of Ricardo Pessoa, executive at UTC, one of those imprisoned for corruption, Collor denies the charges and repudiated “vehemently” the accusations being bought against him, considering them “invasive and unnecessary” because they still have not been notified. He added that the Federal Police feeds an atmosphere of “terror and persecution.”

Police said that the aim of the operation was to “prevent the destruction of evidence,” while the Attorney General of the Republic, Rodrigo Janot said that “measures are necessary for the facts investigated to be brought to the Supreme Tribunal “.

Besides Collor de Melo, investigations are now focusing on Ciro Nogueira, president of the Progressive Party (PP), Eduardo da Fonte, PP deputy, and Senator Fernando Bezerra Coelho, from the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB). Bezerra is accused of requsting financial funds estimated at $6.3 million for the presidential campaign of Eduardo Campos, who died last year in a plane crash.

The Supreme Court had already approved last March an investigation of 47 politicians, 22 federal deputies, 12 senators, 12 former deputies and former governors of five different parties.

The PP, part of the coalition of President Dilma Rousseff, is the main investigated party, so the Supreme Court authorized an investigation into 32 of its members. After the PP police are also looking into practices by the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), with seven members being investigated.

The Workers Party (PT), the party of former President Lula and current president, Dilma Rousseff, has six of its members on suspicion, while the opposition Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) and the Brazilian Labor Party (PTB) have one each.

In Brasilia politicians and the press expect the opening of a formal investigation against Eduardo Cunha, president of the Chamber of Deputies and member of the PMDB.

Although the PMDB is part of the coalition put together by, Cunha is one of the main critics of her government and is seen as responsible for significant losses that PT had in Parliament this year. Now that an investigation seems inevitable, Cunha has promised “retaliation” against the Executive.

His party believes that Rousseff’s government would not impede the investigation and charging of his party, as published yesterday on the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

The government has rejected any interference in judicial proceedings, which has encourage Cunha and Calheiros, supposed Rousseff allies, to promise to raise the tension in Congress in the coming days.

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