Four Arrested Over Hacking of Brazil Justice Minister’s Phone


Brazilian federal police arrested four people Tuesday over the hacking of cell phones belonging to Justice Minister Sergio Moro and prosecutors involved in a massive corruption probe.

The arrests come after an investigative website last month began publishing excerpts from leaked Telegram messages that show Moro, the powerful judge behind the so-called Car Wash inquiry, had conspired to keep jailed leftist icon Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva out of the 2018 presidential race that he was widely expected to win.

In a statement, police did not identify the suspects arrested in the operation dubbed Spoofing that involved raids in three cities across Sao Paulo state.

Moro has denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign over the scandal, saying criminals had hacked the cell phones with the aim of overturning convictions resulting from the probe that has claimed the scalps of scores of high-profile figures, including Lula, since it began in 2014.

The Intercept website co-founded by American journalist Glenn Greenwald has not revealed the identity of its source or how the group chats were accessed.

The revelations have sparked street protests in support of Moro, whom many Brazilians fed up with corruption consider a hero.


Brazil reels at claims judge who jailed Lula collaborated with prosecutors

By: Tom Phillips

According to the Intercept, Sérgio Moro gave prosecutors strategic advice, criticism and tips during the sprawling corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash that jailed hundreds of executives, politicians and middlemen.

Prosecutors also allegedly discussed strategies to block a newspaper’s attempts to interview Lula during last year’s election campaign, according to the Intercept, which published cellphone chats it said it had received from an anonymous source.

Opinion polls had indicated that Lula was likely to win the 2018 presidential poll until he was imprisoned and forced out of the race. His last-minute replacement, Fernando Haddad was beaten by the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro – who then appointed Moro as justice minister.

Lula has been imprisoned since April 2018. He was handed a nine-year prison sentence in 2017 by Moro, who ruled that he received bribes from a construction company in the shape of a seaside apartment renovated for him.

On Sunday, the Intercept published excerpts from what it described as an “enormous trove” of group chats on the encrypted phone app Telegram, along with audio, video and other documentation.