The former president of Brazil Fernando Collor de Mello was sentenced on Wednesday by the Supreme Court to eight years and ten months in prison for corruption, in an investigation derived from the Lava Jato mega-cause.
Collor de Mello, 73 years old and president between 1990 and 1992, was found guilty of receiving 20 million reais between 2010 and 2014 (about US $ 4 million, at the current exchange rate) when he was a senator, to "irregularly make viable contracts" between a construction company and a former subsidiary of Petrobras.
With a vote of 8 to 2, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) had found Collor guilty of the crimes of corruption and money laundering. On Wednesday, the magistrates handed down the sentence.
"The total sentence is set at eight years and ten months" in prison, announced at the end of the trial the president of the STF, Rosa Weber.
Although the reporting judge in the case, Edson Fachin, had suggested a sentence of up to 33 years in prison, the Court as a whole reduced that time of the sentence.
The facts "proven" in the process are "very serious" and "portray the nefarious misuse of public functions for personal and patrimonial promotion," Fachin said on the last day of the trial.
Fernando Collor de Mello was sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption in Brazil. AFP Photo
In his vote, Fachin considered that "the then senator used political-partisan influence to promote appointments to the board of directors of (Petrobras subsidiary) BR Distribuidora and create facilities for the establishment of contracts."
The investigation fell under the umbrella of the Lava Jato mega-cause, which has splashed the entire Brazilian political class since 2014.
The money laundering was carried out through more than 40 deposits in accounts in the name of Collor and in 65 accounts of companies owned by him.
His defense denies the allegations.
Fernando Collor de Mello, the president who resigned in 1992 over corruption allegations
Collor was the first president elected by universal suffrage after the military regime (1964-85), defeating Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the second round by 52% to 47% of the vote.
Fernando Collor de Mello and Lula da Silva in the presidential debate in 1990. AP Photo File
Two years after taking office, he resigned from the presidency amid allegations of diversion and corruption. He left office just before the impeachment process against him opened in Congress.
Subsequently, he was accused in the ordinary justice of receiving bribes in exchange for facilitating contracts with advertising companies during his government, but was acquitted of the charges, due to lack of evidence.
He managed to return to politics in 2006, when he was elected senator for Alagoas, a poor state in the northeast. He held that seat until the end of 2022.
In recent years, Collor has been close to Jair Bolsonaro, for whom he campaigned in 2022, against Lula da Silva.
Fernando Collor de Mello was relieved of the presidency of Brazil by allegations of corruption and an impeachment opened by Congress. AP Photo Folha Imagem, Lula Marques
He is currently a member of the Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro (PTB), on the center-right of that country's political spectrum.