For those who despair about the political machinations of Brexitland, here is a cautionary tale from South America, and the way in which the electricity market is run there.
I understand that the previous president of Brazil, Michel Temer, has just been arrested on corruption charges. This is in connection with ‘Operation Radioactivity,’ the latest phase of Brazil’s ‘Operation Car Wash’ (Operação Lava Jato).
Car Wash is the country’s sweeping multi-year probe into corruption, money laundering, bribery and embezzlement, which began in May 2014. Brazilian federal prosecutors now allege that Temer, president of Brazil from 2016 to 2018 – in other words, when the investigation was already ongoing – led ‘a criminal organisation’. Specifically, he took bribes in connection with the award of contracts for the construction of the Angra 3 nuclear power plant (on the Rio de Janeiro coast).
The prosecutors maintain that Temer’s ‘criminal organisation’ committed crimes including cartel formation, active and passive corruption, money laundering and fraudulent bidding processes. Also arrested was the former energy minister and governor of Rio de Janeiro, Moreira Franco, making him the fifth governor of the state to be arrested in three years. And if Temer ends up in jail, he will be joining his two immediate presidential predecessors there.
To misquote LP Hartley, Brazil is a foreign country. They do things differently there. After all, nobody is bribing Theresa May for contracts in the building of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, are they? Are they?