Brazil: Former President Collor found guilty of corruption

Brazil’s center-right former President Fernando Collor de Mello (1990-1992) was found guilty of corruption and money laundering in connection with the “Laves-Express” scandal by Brazil’s Supreme Court on Thursday.

Eight out of ten judges ruled in favor of his conviction. Edson Fachin, the reporting judge on the case, referred to a sentence of up to 33 years in prison, but it will not be carried out until May 31.

Mr Kolor, 73, the first head of state elected by direct universal suffrage since the military dictatorship, is accused of receiving 20 million reais (about 3.8 million euros) in bribes from 2010 to 2014, when he was a senator.

Mr Fachin said the former president had used “his political influence to facilitate the signing of contracts”.

According to prosecutors, around forty payments were made to facilitate the “irregular” signing of these contracts between a construction company and a subsidiary of the state oil company Petrobras.

The defense denies all the allegations.

The investigation was opened in the context of the “Lavaz-Express” scandal, which rocked the entire Brazilian political spectrum since 2014.

In 1989, the election of Fernando Collor de Mello, just 40 years old, in a second round against current leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva raised great hopes.

But the Brazilian soon became disillusioned: barely two years after coming to power, he resigned in the face of Congress’s open impeachment proceedings against him for passive corruption.

He still managed to return to politics in 2006, getting himself elected senator of Alagoas, a poor state in the northeast, a seat he held until the end of the previous year.

At the end of his second eight-year term in the Upper House, Collor openly supported far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro.

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