Brazil's Bolsonaro names judge who jailed his rival as justice minister

File photo of Jair Bolsonaro. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Nov 03, 2018, 06.37 PM (IST)

Brazil's far-right president-elect has convinced crusading anti-graft judge Sergio Moro to become his justice minister, the two said on Thursday, delighting his supporters and enraging critics by hiring the jurist who jailed his chief political rival.

Moro oversaw the so-called 'Operation Car Wash' probe that convicted former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of bribery and money laundering, blocking the then poll-leader from running against Jair Bolsonaro.

A telegenic 46-year-old who has previously dismissed any political ambitions, Moro flew to Bolsonaro's beachside Rio de Janeiro home on Thursday, where he met with Brazil's next president for about an hour before both announced the decision.

The president-elect scores a clear political victory with the appointment of Moro, who gained a cult following in Brazil after he locked up a string of politicians and businessmen in the country's biggest-ever graft investigation.

But the decision also gives ammunition to his opponents, who have long argued that the 'Car Wash' probe was a politicized purge aimed at sidelining Lula and his leftist Workers Party (PT).

Story highlights

Moro oversaw the so-called 'Operation Car Wash' probe that convicted former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of bribery and money laundering, blocking the then poll-leader from running against Jair Bolsonaro.