Former judge Sergio Moro back in Brazilian politics by 2022 Vote | World news


BRASILIA (Reuters) – Sergio Moro, who has become a household name in Brazil as the judge who led the country’s largest corruption investigation, returned to the political fray on Wednesday, posing as a rallying centrist ahead of the election presidential elections next year.

Moro, 49, who jailed former left-wing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for corruption and then became justice minister under President Jair Bolsonaro before accusing him of misconduct and resignation, has joined the party center-right Podemos offering a solution to Brazil’s polarized politics.

Although Moro’s fight against corruption has brought him fame, his star has fallen in recent years as Lula’s conviction was overturned and he joined Bolsonaro’s government.

“I never had any political ambitions. I just want to help,” he said in a speech during his party affiliation, adding that he was available to run for the presidency if needed as alternative to the face to face expected between Bolsonaro and Lula in October.

“There are other good names that have come forward so that the country can escape the extremes of lies, corruption and return to the past,” he said.

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Moro left the judiciary to join far-right cabinet Bolsonaro as justice minister in 2019 determined to root out corruption in Brazil.

But he resigned last year after criticizing Bolsonaro for his interference with the police force allegedly to protect his sons in corruption investigations.

Moro said he would be an anti-corruption candidate who would focus on eradicating poverty, reforming the state, and privatizing his many businesses that have been a source of corruption.

He rose to fame in 2015 as a federal judge leading the high-profile Lava Jato, or Car Wash, investigation, which uncovered a multibillion-dollar bribery and corruption program, primarily involving state-owned oil company Petrobras, which led to the arrest of dozens of business leaders and politicians.

Lula was jailed in 2018 on a corruption conviction handed down by Moro for receiving bribes from an engineering company that won contracts with the government when he was president.

He was released a year and a half later after the Supreme Court overturned his convictions when it overturned a rule that defendants were to be jailed after losing their first appeal.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; writing by Anthony Boadle; editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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