New Brazilian corruption probes and their consequences

THE latest revelations of wrongdoing in high places struck Brazil with the force of a Netflix release: they are riveting, but so far have left the real world undisturbed. On April 12th Edson Fachin, the supreme-court justice who is overseeing a vast probe into corruption centred on Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, authorised prosecutors to investigate eight government ministers, 24 senators, 39 deputies in the lower house of congress and three state governors. He sent dozens of cases to lower courts; they will now consider whether to launch new criminal inquiries into nine more state governors and three former presidents. All the big political parties and most front-runners in next year’s presidential election have been tarnished (see chart).

This fresh scourging of the political class comes at an awkward time. Brazil’s worst recession on record has not ended. Michel Temer, who became president last year after the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma...

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