The Federal Supreme Court has condemned Former Brazilian President Fernando Collor to eight years and ten months in prison due to money laundering and corruption. By eight votes to two, the ministers considered that Collor received 20 million reais between 2010 and 2013 to make advantages in contracts of the “BR Distribuidora”, a company that sells petroleum products and derivatives, using his influence as a senator.
Fernando Collor will not be arrested right now, because he can go to court to discuss his conviction in the Supreme Court. The politician will need to pay a fine too, besides 20 million reais of compensation for moral damages, and he is prohibited from serving public office for twice as long as he was sentenced.
The ministers who voted in favor of the sentence were Edson Fachin, Alexandre de Moraes, Luís Roberto Barroso, Luiz Fux, André Mendonça, Dias Toffoli, Cármen Lúcia, and Rosa Weber; and those who voted against the measure were Nunes Marques and Gilmar Mendes. Before the vote, Edson Fachin had proposed a sentence of 33 years, ten months, and ten days in a closed initial regime.
Fernando Collor and his party: PTB
According to Denilde Holzhacker, a doctor in political science and professor at ESPM, the condemnation “reinforces the image of a politician who has several corruption accusations, diminishes his regional role and his role in the performance of local politics in Alagoas and maintains a logic of ostracism. From a political point of view, it reinforces the view that anti-corruption instruments still have investigative capacity”.
Fernando Collor suffered an impeachment in 1994 after some problems in his government. Although his campaigns were against money laundering, one of the main causes of the impeachment was the revelation of the PC Farias case, a scheme of corruption.
“He’s a politician who had a speech to fight corruption even after the impeachment”, explains Denilde. “He has a very strong position within the State and managed to be elected to a senator, but this period of ostracism and little actions was aimed at building a base and still maintaining a connection with the public structure”, continues Holzhacker.
The former president is a member of PTB (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro – Brazilian Labor Party). The sentence can be prejudicial to the party, but PTB’s opinion is ventilated with the leaders, like Collor.
“It’s a party that only expresses the position of the leaders who are there because they need a party to be candidates”, says the professor. “For the party, it is bad because it is already a small party that will continue to have the lowest projection yet in terms of negotiating capacity and acting at the national level”.
The cases of corruption in Brazil
Since Fernando Collor’s impeachment, more corruption cases were revealed. “Mechanisms have been improving so we have many discoveries and investigation processes. If we look at it from the point of view of public opinion, the country is still living in a situation with large cases and it shows the difficulties that still exist”, emphasizes Denilde.
Lava Jato’s Operation, created to figure out schemes of corruption in Brazil, has been helping to put these people in prison, even though there still are some challenges.
“If we see how much progress has been made since Collor´s government, we have many mechanisms being created in investigations that were being done”, finalizes the doctor in political sciences.
The article above was edited by Clarissa Palácio.
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