The Federal Supreme Court (STF) condemned, this Thursday (25), former president and former senator Fernando Collor (PTB) for passive corruption and money laundering. Collor is accused in the criminal action of receiving R$ 29.9 million in bribes for irregular contracts with BR Distribuidora between 2010 and 2014. The score was 8 votes to 2. The dosimetry of the penalty, however, will only be defined at the session next Wednesday (31).
The Court had already formed a majority with 6 votes in favor and 1 against, last week, to condemn him for the crimes of money laundering and passive corruption. During the trial, ministers disagreed on the third charge against the former parliamentarian: criminal organization. Some magistrates defended the use of a criminal association to determine Collor’s actions.
The case’s rapporteur, Minister Edson Fachin, voted for a sentence of 33 years and 10 months in prison, in addition to a fine of R$ 20 million for collective moral damages. According to him, money laundering has been proven by making 42 deposits in the former senator’s current accounts and 65 in accounts of companies controlled by him, to circumvent the inspection mechanisms of the financial authorities.
They follow the understanding of the rapporteur completely: Alexandre de Moraes, André Mendonça, Luís Roberto Barroso, Luiz Fux and Cármen Lúcia. In terms of the accusation of criminal organization, Mendonça and Toffoli considered it more appropriate to frame Collor’s conduct as a crime of criminal association, a less serious classification.
In this Thursday’s session, Moraes, who is the reviewer of the action and had accompanied the rapporteur, modified his vote to follow the understanding of Mendonça and Toffoli in relation to defining the former senator’s conduct as a criminal association.
Last to vote in this Thursday’s session, the President of the Court, Minister Rosa Weber, also supported the thesis of criminal association, rather than criminal organization. During the debates, Fachin reiterated his understanding that the accused should be convicted of the crime of criminal organization for the way they acted.
The only justices to vote for the acquittal of the defendants were Nunes Marques and Gilmar Mendes. Collor’s defense can still appeal the decision so that, only after the analysis of the appeal, the sentence begins to be fulfilled.
Action is unfolding of one of the phases of Lava Jato
The criminal action to which Collor responds is an unfolding of one of the phases of Operation Lava Jato opened in 2017, which found that he would have received bribes of R$ 29.9 million for political influence in the former subsidiary of Petrobras.
In addition to Collor, the alleged operator of the scheme and a friend of former Senator Pedro Paulo Bergamachi, and the financial director of the politician’s companies, Luís Pereira Duarte de Amorim, are also on trial in the criminal action.
According to the complaint filed by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office, the former senator would have, with the help of the other two defendants, requested and accepted an irregular contract to change the flag of fuel stations between BR Distribuidora and the company Derivados do Brasil, with receiving a bribe.
At the time, the Deputy Attorney General of the Republic, Lindôra Araújo, said that the allegations were proven both in award-winning collaborations of targets of the operation. Documents seized would also prove the former president’s involvement in corruption cases.
“The evidence produced during the procedural instruction, consisting of personal testimonies, tables, financial reports, seized documents, among others, form a cohesive and coherent collection of evidence that, analyzed together, leaves no doubt about the authorship and materiality of the crimes committed “, he said.
Lindôra also stated that the “criminal organization was structured and its members had defined tasks, integrating one of its nuclei: political, financial, economic or administrative”, and that the former senator had influence over BR Distribuidora for strategic appointments in the company.
The deputy attorney general also highlighted that the physical presence of the former parliamentarian at BR Distribuidora was confirmed with access registration during the negotiations of the DVRB contract and the UTC bids, further indicating Bergamaschi’s assiduity in the mixed capital company.
For all defendants, the PGR also asked for the imposition of a fine and the payment of compensation of BRL 29.9 million for material damages – the amount charged in bribes – and another BRL 29.9 million in moral damages, totaling BRL 59.9 million, an amount on which the monetary restatement will still apply.
During the trial, lawyer Marcelo Bessa asked for Collor’s acquittal. The defender stated that the PGR’s accusations are based on testimonies of a plea bargain and no evidence was presented to incriminate the former senator, informed the Brazil Agency. Bessa also denied that the former parliamentarian was responsible for appointing company directors. According to him, the whistleblowers accused Collor based on comments from third parties.
“There is no reliable evidence to corroborate this version of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Here is a version posted, solely and exclusively, by award-winning collaborators, who do not say that the collection of these amounts would be related to Collor or with the alleged intermediation of this flagship contract” , said Bessa.