Former Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Melo was sentenced by the Supreme Federal Court (STF) to 8 years and 10 months in jail Tuesday for having received some US$4 million to “irregularly facilitate contracts” between a construction company and a Petrobras subsidiary.
STF Justice Alexandre De Moraes has defined the sentence on the basis of four years and four months for the crime of passive corruption, and four years and six months for money laundering. As for the charge of criminal association, De Moraes argued that it has expired because the defendant is over 70 years old. Case rapporteur Edson Fachin maintained Collor should have been sentenced to 33 years and ten months of imprisonment. The Attorney General's Office (PGR) asked for a sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison.
Collor will not be arrested immediately, because the defense of the former senator can still appeal this ruling. His legal team during the trial asked for acquittal on the grounds that the accusations stemmed from hearsay and no incriminating evidence had been produced.
The defendant allegedly received the bribes between 2010 and 2014, when he was a senator.
According to the complaint filed against Collor de Mello by the Prosecutor's Office in 2015, the former head of state used his influence in politics to benefit from fraudulent contracts between BR Distribuidora, a subsidiary of the state-owned oil company Petrobras, and the construction company UTC of businessman Joao Lyra, with whom he has a friendly relationship.
For brokering these contracts, Collor allegedly received € 3.7 million, a 15% commission of the sums paid to the businessman.
Collor de Mello ruled Brazil between 1990 and 1992 when he resigned from office at a time when he was about to be impeached for corruption, of which he would later be acquitted by the STF.
Between 2007 and 2023 he held a seat in the Senate and last year he was an unsuccessful candidate for the position of governor of the state of Alagoas, which he had already held before becoming President.