Former Lava Jato judge and former Minister of Justice, senator Sergio Moro (União Brasil-PR) said that President Lula (PT) encourages revenge against those who investigated him and, in doing so, tries to rewrite history.
In an interview with Sheet, he commented on the new offensive against Lava Jato. Among the most symbolic recent measures is the annulment of the evidence obtained in the Odebrecht leniency agreement, by decision of Minister Dias Toffoli, of the STF (Supreme Federal Court), on the 6th.
“There are some technical errors. For example, there is a statement that the evidence would not have been obtained through international legal cooperation, [mas foi] based on false information provided by the Ministry of Justice”, stated the senator.
Furthermore, the CNJ (National Council of Justice) stated last week that it will investigate magistrates who worked in Lava Jato, including Moro. “The Lula government’s actions are aimed in this direction, punishing those who stood up not against the PT, but against corruption, and on the other hand creating the conditions so that the PT can never be investigated again.”
Moro was responsible for Lava Jato in Paraná until 2018, when he left the judiciary to become Jair Bolsonaro’s minister. In 2021, his role in Lula’s cases was declared partial by the Supreme Court, which also annulled the sentence issued against the current president. The measure occurred after Lava Jato’s credibility was undermined with the publication of conversations between the then judge and prosecutors, who showed collaboration in the processes.
Decision on Odebrecht
We respect court decisions. An appeal was filed. There are some technical errors — for example, there is a statement that the evidence would not have been obtained through international legal cooperation, [mas foi] based on false information provided by the Ministry of Justice. And then the ministry itself reported that there was, indeed, cooperation. These pieces of evidence, Odebrecht’s accounting was provided by the company itself, there is no indication that there had been any adulteration.
In any case, what I see is that there is a revanchism, encouraged by the Lula government, and that ends up affecting all institutions, and that [Lula] wants to rewrite history. Lula is not satisfied with having been convicted in three instances for corruption and having been arrested with the authorization of the Federal Supreme Court. He wants, in Stalinist fashion, to rewrite this part of history and generates this climate of attacks on agents who worked in Operation Lava Jato.
Investigation against Lava Jato prosecutors, magistrates and police
We are entering a very dangerous path which is a risk to the independence of the judiciary and the Public Ministry. This is a dangerous step towards weakening our democracy. The threat of sanctions ends up having an intimidating effect on the entire judiciary. Who will have the courage to investigate cases of corruption or hand down sentences against cases of corruption in a scenario of retaliation promoted by the Lula government?
The Lula government’s actions are aimed in this direction: punishing those who stood up not against the PT, but against corruption, and on the other hand creating the conditions so that the PT can never be investigated again.
They will not be able to rewrite history because the facts are undeniable. Petrobras recovered R$6 billion due to Lava Jato. So there is no denying that Petrobras was looted. Today there is a dismantling of the fight against corruption and preventive mechanisms, such as the relaxation of the Law on State-Owned Companies, which allowed the return of party political allocation without limits to positions in state-owned companies.
Use of data before international cooperation
The leniency agreement was largely favorable to Brazil and involved, in the case of Odebrecht, a return of more than R$3 billion. Odebrecht has committed to collaborating. Odebrecht handed over the evidence voluntarily as part of the agreement. For this voluntary surrender, international legal cooperation is absolutely unnecessary. At the same time, through international legal cooperation, a copy of this accounting was obtained from the Swiss authorities.
It does not mean that what appears in the accounts [da empresa] must be considered true. Other evidence must be collected to generate a criminal conviction. But it is one thing to discuss this in the field of validity and another thing is the question of the credibility of the evidence. We respect the minister’s decision, but there is a technical mistake in mixing the two things.
Validity of evidence
The Federal Supreme Court itself was the one who approved, by decision of Minister Cármen Lúcia, the 77 award-winning collaboration agreements with Odebrecht executives. So, this evidence was also obtained through other means, testimonies and other elements that these individuals provided. It has to be analyzed in each specific case. Other countries are using these tests, such as Peru and Colombia. In Latin America, the Lava Jato case is usually called the Odebrecht case.
Effect on Lava Jato convictions
I have no way of evaluating this for concrete, specific cases. There were many convictions in Operation Lava Jato. A part arising from the Odebrecht agreement. Other parts completely independent. So you have to do a case-by-case analysis.
Precedent against independence of the judiciary
When precedents are set and the guarantee of the independence of the judiciary is violated based on false premises, nothing prevents that, with the change of winds in the future, the executioners themselves end up being eventually affected by this weakening, and here I am referring to the Lula government more once.
Ministry of Justice found agreement with Switzerland after STF decision
I cannot say, without having evidence, that it was deliberate. I attribute it to incompetence, to a failure.
Lula’s arrest cited by Toffoli as ‘one of the biggest miscarriages of justice’
Lula’s arrest was determined only after conviction in the second instance. There was never a preventive arrest of the former president. It was a conviction confirmed by the TRF (Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region), habeas corpus was denied by the STJ (Superior Court of Justice) and the STF.
Investigation at CNJ
I haven’t seen the decision yet [expedida após uma inspeção na Vara Federal que reportou ter havido uma ‘gestão caótica’]. I’m waiting to see whether I’ll be notified or not, I’m somewhat curious to see this decision because I’m no longer a judge, I have no connection with the Judiciary and, therefore, I’m not subject to the CNJ’s disciplinary power. In fact, the most serious sanction foreseen against a judge is compulsory retirement, and in short it makes no sense. In any case, I am absolutely at peace with the work that was done in Operation Lava Jato.
Assessment of Minister Flávio Dino (Justice)
Today we see a Ministry of Justice focused on issues that are of no interest to the population. There is, for example, a security crisis in Bahia and the government seems paralyzed. We saw, on January 8th, the National Force inoperative, and [ela] could have been used to prevent invasions. So far we do not have a public security policy and this gives rise to this type of assessment that the focus of the ministry and the Lula government itself is the persecution of political opponents.
Favorites for the STF
I will not comment on any nomination before it is made. Lula said he will not take into account gender, race or diversity criteria. What can be read behind this statement? A disappointment, a disappointment for Lula with the previous appointment of minister Joaquim Barbosa, who, contrary to being subservient, was a haughty judge and showed independence in handling the Mensalão case. For Lula, this is a mistake, because he wanted a slave, not a judge.
Request for impeachment against the senator
This cassation story is more hearsay, zum zum zum, than anything else. We respect the Electoral Court, unlike the PT president [Gleisi Hoffmann] and we will calmly await the judgment by both the TRE (Regional Electoral Court) and the TSE (Superior Electoral Court).
We see an offensive by the Lula government against the Armed Forces. It is clear that the Armed Forces did not participate in any coup. It sometimes comes as a surprise when we see PT leaders attacking generals, admirals, brigadiers at the top of the Armed Forces. The Lula government is following a very dangerous path, seeking to weaken the Armed Forces, perhaps with the aim of controlling them.
X-RAY | SERGIO MORO, 51
Senator affiliated with União Brasil, he was a judge in Operation Lava Jato and convicted Lula in the first instance in the process that led the PT member to prison. He gave up the judiciary to become Bolsonaro’s Minister of Justice and left the portfolio after 16 months. Moro was declared partial by the STF in his role in Lula’s cases and had his decisions annulled.