Brazilians call him SuperMoro, chanting his name on the streets of Rio de Janeiro as if he were a soccer star. But Sergio Moro is just a judge, albeit one prosecuting a corruption scandal so huge it could bring down a President—and perhaps change a culture of graft that has long hobbled his country’s progress.
Operation Car Wash, as his investigation is called, found that kickbacks were paid to middlemen and politicians in exchange for contracts at Petrobras, the state-run oil company. The money is huge, but even bigger is the political impact, with hundreds of lawmakers under investigation. Although she hasn’t been directly linked to any bribery, President Dilma Rousseff now faces impeachment in part because of Moro’s work.
Moro has been accused of ignoring due process, and he’s been more than willing to try his cases in the court of public opinion. But most Brazilians feel that his sharp-elbowed tactics are worth the trade-off for a cleaner country.
Walsh is the international editor for TIME
- These Charts Show COVID-19 Is Still the Pandemic of the Unvaccinated
- Reddit Allows Hate Speech to Flourish in Its Global Forums, Moderators Say
- What It Takes to Get Support for a Black Boy With Special Needs
- Shonda Rhimes Already Knows What You're Going to Watch Next
- How Harry Reid Paved the Way for Democrats to Kill the Filibuster
- President Biden's Speech in Atlanta Was Designed to Appeal to Black Voters—But Not Everything About It Succeeded
- China Is Finding Fewer Reliable Sources of Coal. That Could Be Bad News for the Climate