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Brazil ex-leader sentenced to almost 9 years for corruption

June 1, 2023

Fernando Collor de Mello, who was Brazil's president from 1990 to 1992, was convicted of corruption and money laundering during his time as a senator in the 2010s.

Fernando Collor de Mello
Fernando Collor de Mello was Brazil's president from 1990 to 1992, and later served as a senatorImage: ANDRESSA ANHOLETE/AFP

Brazil's Supreme Court has sentenced former President Fernando Collor de Mello to eight years and 10 months in prison, after he was convicted of corruption and money laundering.

Last week, the High Court convicted the 73-year-old of taking 20 million reais ($4 million; €3.7 million) in bribes from a subsidiary of state-owned oil company Petrobras while he was a senator from 2010 to 2014.

Collor took the bribes in exchange for "irregularly" arranging contracts for a construction company, the prosecutor's office said.

Collor did not comment on the sentencing, but a note released by his lawyers at the time of his conviction said he did "not commit any crime" and expressed confidence that he would ultimately be exonerated.

Corruption allegations

Collor became Brazil's first democratically elected president in 1989 and led the country until 1992.

He embarked on a program of free market reforms and privatization of several state-owned companies, marking an end to Brazil's era of economic protectionism.

However, Collor's term in office was mired by corruption allegations and he resigned as president to avoid impeachment.

He stayed in politics afterwards and served as a senator for the state of Alagoas from 2007 to February 2023.

The charges against Collor during his time in the senate stem from the "Car Wash" corruption investigation, which also led to a conviction for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that was later thrown out by the Supreme Court.

zc/nm (Reuters, AFP, EFE)