BRASILIA – The Brazilian Supreme Court on Thursday named a new judge to oversee cases related to a massive anti-corruption probe centered on state-controlled oil company Petrobras.
Luiz Edson Fachin will be tasked with leading the Petrobras investigation in the high court, which by law must handle cases involving federal lawmakers and other senior officeholders.
He also will make decisions about investigations stemming from a plea deal reached between prosecutors and dozens of former executives of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, one of the companies accused of paying bribes to corrupt Petrobras officials to secure inflated contracts with the oil giant.
Prosecutors say extra money from the scheme was set aside to pay off politicians who provided cover for the graft.
A practicing Catholic and progressive attorney, Fachin was named to the Supreme Court by former President Dilma Rousseff, who was ousted from office last year for budget irregularities.
He will replace Teori Zavascki, who died in a small plane crash on Jan. 19.
The Supreme Court is currently overseeing part of the case load related to the Car Wash investigation, as the probe into the Petrobras affair is known, and reviewing nearly 100 plea deals.
Some senior construction company executives have been convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms in connection with the Car Wash probe, while dozens of politicians have been accused of aiding those firms through favorable legislation and assistance with obtaining new contracts.
Supreme Court President Carmen Lucia Antunes on Monday accepted a plea deal entered into by 77 former Odebrecht executives caught up in the Car Wash probe.
Their testimony, according to leaks to the Brazilian press, provides details of kickbacks paid to some 200 politicians, including Brazilian President Michel Temer and several of his Cabinet ministers.