UCL Institute of the Americas


Inside the 'Car Wash': corruption scandal or a systemic 'illicit financial Quid Pro Quo' in Brazil?

31 January 2017, 6:00 pm

This event is free.

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UCL Institute of the Americas


UCL Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PN

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Fernanda Odilla V. de Figueiredo (Brazil Institute - King's College London) - In 2014 a corruption scheme emerged in Brazil with unprecedented political and judicial repercussions. Dubbed Lava Jato (car wash in Portuguese), the investigation has uncovered large-scale bribery, kickbacks, money laundering, cartel practice, influence peddling and illegal campaign finance involving the state-run oil company Petrobras.

Using investigators' reports and judicial sentences as well as campaign finance records and government payments orders, this presentation looks in depth at the mechanics involved in the corruption flows to discuss the links between campaign finance, state capture, political exploitation, and overcharged public contracts channelled back to campaigns, politicians, parties and senior bureaucrats. Although dozens of high profile bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen have now been investigated, some of them already jailed, one of the major repercussions of this investigation is the Brazilian Supreme Court decision to ban corporate donations to electoral campaigns. The Petrobras scheme exposed an 'illicit financial Quid Pro Quo' that can easily be emulated in other captured public agencies, although it also showed that Brazil is ready to hold its elites to account. Thus, it remains unclear whether the new, harsher anti-corruption actions in Brazil are enough to curb certain institutionalized rent-seeking practices.

The UCL Institute of Americas is delighted to announce this event with Fernanda Odilla V. de Figueiredo (Brazil Institute, King's College London), who will answer questions from the audience after the presentation. This event is part of the public seminar series Thinking Brazil, convened by Dr Juan Grigera (UCL Americas). Attendance is free of charge.