Former Brazilian President Fernando Collor, who ruled the country between 1990 and 1992, is close to imprisonment. A majority of Federal Supreme Court judges voted in favor of convicting him of the Trobras-related passive corruption and money laundering offenses derived from Operation Lava Jato. The judges will continue their deliberations next week, but the conviction is already a foregone conclusion because six of the eleven have already voted in favor of convicting him. The judge reporting on the case, Edson Fashen, suggested a 33-year prison sentence and that he could never hold public office again, although the final sentence would be determined by the panel of judges.
The case dates back to 2015, when the Public Prosecutor’s Office denounced Collor for taking 30 million reais (about $6 million, 5.6 million euros) in bribes between 2010 and 2014. In return for this money, Collor, through political appointments, made beneficial contracts available between DVBR (Derivados do Brasil) and BR Distribuidora, a subsidiary of the semi-state oil company Petrobras. During the investigation, the police confiscated a Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini from his mansion in Brasilia. The former president has always denied the facts and maintained that he is innocent.
In a more than 200-page defense of his voice, the judge in charge of the Lava Gato cases, Edson Vaschin, slammed Collor’s “disingenuous performance in the corruption scheme,” noting that the former president took advantage of his status as a senator to “voice bogus negotiations.” The judge had mercy on the politician and pleaded for a harsher sentence than the one requested by the attorney general’s office at the time, 33 years versus the 22 years the prosecution had requested.
Justice Carmen Lucia Antunes, who also voted in favor of the ruling, expressed astonishment at the fact that the corruption conspiracy was only formed when the Supreme Court was ruling on the so-called monthly, A congressional vote-buying scheme rocked President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s first term. “None of this seems to have caused any fear on the part of the people who have now practiced proven actions […] Seeing and working with this painting is very bitter,” the judge lamented.
In addition to Collor, businessmen Luis Pereira Duarte de Amorim, who runs the companies of the former president, and Pedro Paolo Bergamschi, the main operator of the corruption scheme, were also sentenced. The two will face prison sentences of eight and 16 years, respectively. In addition, the trio will have to pay RO 20 million in compensation for collective moral damages.
Collor did not last long in the presidency because he suffered from the first operation isolation Brazilian democracy. Indicators of corruption, financial fraud, and massive public pressure (the colored face movement) led to his removal from the presidential seat, but not from power. After the period in which he was prohibited from holding public office, in 2007 he returned to politics as a senator for the state of Alagoas, his major electoral stronghold. From this comfortable senator seat (which lasted until February of this year) is where he allegedly committed the crimes for which he has just been convicted. In the 2022 elections, in which he supported the re-election of Jair Bolsonaro, he tried to go a step further and vanquish the Alagoas government, but he came third. Denied for the first time in a long time the legal protections enjoyed by parliamentarians, he is now closer than ever to prison.
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