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  • Demonstrators take part in a protest in support of Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation, in Brasilia, Brazil May 9, 2017.

    Demonstrators take part in a protest in support of Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation, in Brasilia, Brazil May 9, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 May 2018

Nearly two years after accepting Attorney General's Office's report, the court only began the first trial Tuesday. 

As Brazil's Operation Car Wash (Lavo Jato) enters its fifth year, 50 of the 55 elected officials implicated in the corruption scandal are scheduled to participate in Brazil's upcoming general elections in October. 

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The ongoing criminal investigation into bribery at Petrobras, the state-controlled oil producer, which came to light in 2014, has implicated a sizeable portion of Brazil’s business and political establishment. 

A recent survey revealed 42 parliamentarians said they would run for re-elections, while four of the accused intended to fill vacancies in the Senate, two within state governments and one within the state legislature. Three members of parliament didn't respond or remained undecided and their candidacy, two others stated they wouldn't run. 

Nearly two years after accepting Attorney General's Office's (PGR) complaint, the court began a trial of the first official implicated in the scandal, Nelson Meurer, Tuesday. He is accused of corruption and money laundering.  

Of the 50 deputies who intend to contest a position this year, 12 are affiliated to the Progressistas (PP) the right-wing party, while another 12 are affiliated to the Workers' Party (PT). Six of them are from Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), and four of them belong to the Democrats, the main party on the right-wing spectrum.  

President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, Rodrigo Maia, from the Democrats, is the subject of three investigations on alleged money laundering. The cases were opened based on testimonies from collaborators of the Odebrecht and OAS contractors. 

According to Estadao, Maia said he intends to maintain his candidacy for the presidency "to the end."

When asked about Lava Jato, he said that it is necessary "to discuss not only the punishment but also the conditions to have a state in which control systems are more rigid and do not allow what has been seen in the state."   

He added that the Car Wash scandal is "a manipulation conducted selectively in suspicious schemes of all kinds." 

Earlier this month, investigators in Brazil conducted one of their most significant operations against corruption targeting a money-laundering ring linked to influential politicians and businesspeople that moved US$1 billion through offshore accounts in 52 countries.   

"This sting opens the door on an unknown universe," said prosecutor Rodrigo Timoteo. "We have pulled back the first layer, but there are many more."   

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