Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki, who was overseeing a massive corruption investigation known as “Operation Car Wash”, has been killed in a plane crash off the coast of southeast Brazil, officials say. Several others were also killed.
The accident happened just after 1 p.m. local time on Thursday when a Beechcraft King Air-type aircraft went down in the waters off Paraty, which is a municipality and popular tourist destination in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Aviation officials confirmed that Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki was on board the plane, which had departed from the city of São Paulo. “We just received confirmation that my father passed away,” son Francisco Zavascki said on his Facebook page.
Brazilian media reported that four people, including Zavascki, were on board the plane when it went down. Three people were killed while one person is reported to have survived the crash. His or her identity and condition were not immediately known.
Zavascki was overseeing a massive corruption investigation targeting state-controlled oil company Petrobras. Executives at the company are accused of accepting more than $2 billion in bribes from construction and engineering companies to award them contracts at inflated prices.
The investigation has led to dozens of arrests and caused political upheaval in Brazil. Testimony provided by executives and employees of construction company Odebrecht SA is said to have implicated as many as 200 politicians.
Zavascki had cut short his vacation earlier this week to review testimony ahead of hearings that were scheduled to start next week.
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