Corrupt: Lava Jato & Sergio Moro’s Sentence Reduction Industry

Lava Jato investigation Prosecutor/Judge Sergio Moro is embroiled in a million dollar cash for sentence reduction scheme.

For the past 2 years some of the most prestigious newspapers and think tanks in the US and Britain have uncritically hailed Lava Jato investigation judge and prosecutor Sergio Moro as an impartial hero in the fight against corruption. In doing this, they ignored facts such as that he refused to admit bribery evidence implicating top politicians from the conservative PSDB party, including usd$ 20 million paid by JBS meat packing company to 2014 presidential runner up Aècio Neves- a suspicious fact because Moro’s wife worked as legal advisor to the PSDB state government in Parana.  On Thursday, November 30, Tacla Duran, a lawyer from the Odebrecht construction company, testified that he received a sentence reduction offer from Moro’s wife’s law firm in exchange for R$5 million paid under the table. This appears to be the tip of the iceberg, as a series of sentences involving some of Brazil’s richest men accused of corruption in the Lava Jato case have been mysteriously reduced in the past year. For example, last month Moro reduced notorious millionaire currency speculator Alberto Youseff’s sentence on Lava Jato related corruption charges from 122 years to 4 years of house arrest with credit for time served.


Prosecuting Judge Sergio Moro and Wife Rosangela in New York to receive a Time Magazine award, sponsored by GM

Duran was accused of money laundering and offered the opportunity to plea bargain in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. He testified under oath that Carlos Zucolotto Jr, partner in Sergio Moro’s wife Rosangela’s law firm and best man at their wedding, entered in contact with Duran and said he could “improve” the prosecutor’s proposal in exchange for R$5 million in cash. Shortly thereafter, the Lava Jato prosecution team offered a new plea bargain agreement with the improvements promised by Zucolotto, including house arrest instead of jail time, and told Duran that it would be signed by Moro as soon as he approved it. Tacla Duran refused the new proposal because the  prosecution team demanded that he admit to crimes he hadn’t committed. He flew to Spain and became a witness in investigations against Odebrecht there. Moro issued an extradition order against Duran which was rejected by the Spanish government for not containing any concrete proof or sufficient proof of motives.


Odebrecht Lawyer Tacla Duran

On November 30th  Duran conducted video testimony to the Brazilian congress on corruption allegations involving JBS meat packing company. In addition to exposing the Moro family’s sentence reduction fraud, he alleged that the bank transfer information and spreadsheets used by Lava Jato investigators in the accusations against Odebrecht are counterfeit, and that he has the originals. He ended his testimony accusing Lava Jato investigators of creating a plea bargaining industry involving millions of dollars and hundreds of business executives.

During the last few days even the biggest and most conservative Brazilian mainstream media outlets have begun to turn on Sergio Moro and the Lava Jato investigation, which nearly destroyed the Brazilian construction and petroleum industries, was responsible for tripling the size of the 2015 recession and caused at least 500,000 job losses. Even Globo ran an article on December 1 called Moro’s Mask Begins to Fall.


When PSDB Party Leader Aécio Neves (right) was caught on tape soliciting a $20 million dollar bribe from JBS meat packing company, Judge Sergio Moro (left) refused to admit the evidence.

For the past two years various defendants in the Lava Jato investigation have complained that they were pressured to make up stories to implicate former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. Earlier this year, in a move widely believed made to block Lula’s 2018 presidential candidacy, Moro sentenced him to 9.5 years in jail, pending appeal, for receiving illegal reforms on an apartment that he was unable to prove he ever owned or set foot in. This new evidence of corruption within the Lava Jato investigation itself raises more suspicion over an investigation that many believe to be a political witch hunt designed to destroy the credibility of the PT party.


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.