Transparency International: Brazil Court Opens Investigation Of Anti-Corruption NGO

By Brian Mier

Brazil’s Federal Auditing Court and Public Prosecutors Office have filed to open an investigation against Transparency International and the Brasília district Public Prosecutors Office over allegations of illegal collaboration with Brazil’s now-disgraced Operation Lava Jato, which illegally imprisoned Brazil’s leading presidential candidate, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, removing him from the 2018 presidential elections and opening the door for far right President Jair Bolsonaro.

According to the Prosecutors Office, the investigation is related to the destination of R$2.3 billion in funds from a leniency agreement negotiated between Lava Jato and Brazil’s largest private investment fund, J&F.

In 2019, the Brazilian Supreme Court blocked an attempt by the US DOJ to provide the Lava Jato taskforce, led by Delton Dallagnol, with a US$ 687 million kickback from fines levied against Brazil’s state petroleum company, Petrobras, to create a private “anti-corruption” foundation based in Curitiba. Federal Prosecutors now say that Dallagnol tried to negotiate a deal with J&F, through the Brasilia District Public Prosecutors Office, to secure R$2.3 billion in funds for Transparency International’s Brazil office to promote “social control over corruption” and “education campaigns”.

According to Brazilian journalist Reinaldo Avezedo, who broke the story, “The [Federal] Public Prosecutors Office and National Auditing Court are opening the investigation because funds coming from leniency agreements are public. Public Prosecutors do not have autonomy to negotiate any kinds of deals that don’t involve delivering funds to the National Treasury. Furthermore, they have no authority to hire NGOs or private sector organizations to provide guidance on the use of public funds.”

Transparency International, the 2016 coup and Lava Jato

In 2016, TI Brazil director Bruno Brandão made dozens of appearances in national and international media denying that a coup was taking place. After Dilma Rousseff was deposed for the widely-practiced budgetary infraction of fiscal peddling, which involved no personal enrichment and was legalized by the Brazilian Senate the week after she left office, Brazil began auctioning off its massive offshore oil reserves to foreign multinationals. Two of the biggest beneficiaries of this process, Shell and ExxonMobil, are historic donors to Transparency International.

TI International Director José Carlos Ugaz and disgraced former Lava Jato Judge Sergio Moro in 2016

In 2020, Brazil’s Agencia Publica analyzed Telegram messages, forwarded by hacker Walter Delgatti to Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald, between Delton Dallagnol and Bruno Brandão, that revealed a close relationship between the two. Among the revelations were that Transparency International had access to the $682 million US DOJ agreement with the Lava Jato taskforce before it was signed by either party.

Dallagnol is now under numerous corruption investigations himself. Most recently, the Federal Auditing Court ordered he and former Attorney General Rodrigo Janot to pay back R$2.78 million spent on lavish business trips and vacations in 5 star hotels, in violation of government travel regulations. 


By Brian Mier

Writer, geographer and former development professional who has lived in Brazil for 26 years. Former directorate member of the Fórum Nacional de Reforma Urbana (National Urban Reform Forum). Has lived in São Luis, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Author of “Os Megaeventos Esportivos na Cidade do Rio de Janeiro e o Direito á Cidade” (CEPR: Porto Alegre. 2016). Editor of "Voices of the Brazilian Left" (Sumare: São Paulo. 2018). Editor of "Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil" ((Sumare: São Paulo. 2019) Irregular correspondent for the Chicago radio show This is Hell.