STF condemns Collor for crimes of passive corruption and money laundering – 05/25/2023 – Power
The STF (Federal Supreme Court) decided this Thursday (25) for the conviction of former president Fernando Collor (PTB) for the crimes of passive corruption and money laundering.
The court had formed a majority in this regard on the 18th. The trial ended with 8 votes to 2 against the former president.
The last vote was given by the President of the Supreme Court, Minister Rosa Weber, who concluded by condemning Collor for both crimes. Ministers Gilmar Mendes and Kassio Nunes Marques voted for his acquittal.
The court will still decide on the size of the sentence and its conditions — the so-called dosimetry. The former president, however, will only be arrested after the judgment of any appeals presented by his defense.
In the criminal action, derived from Operation Lava Jato, the former president and former senator is accused of receiving bribes from a corruption scheme at BR Distribuidora, a subsidiary of Petrobras.
Vouchers found in the office of money changer Alberto Youssef, in addition to testimonies from employees of the operation, were used as evidence in the action against Collor.
The case was taken to the agenda of the plenary of the STF because it is close to the statute of limitations. The former president has always denied all accusations.
The case’s rapporteur, minister Edson Fachin, voted on the 17th to sentence Collor to a sentence of 33 years, 10 months and ten days in prison for the crimes of money laundering, corruption and criminal organization.
According to Fachin’s vote, the evidence showed that, from 2010 to 2014, Collor influenced the command and boards of BR Distribuidora, which led to the signing of contracts between the state-owned company and the construction company UTC. In exchange, says the prosecution, the former president received R$ 20 million.
Fachin stated that the accused’s guilt is exacerbated, “since membership of an organized criminal group by someone who is usually the holder of popular trust for the exercise of power entails a much more intense judgment of disapproval than would be appropriate in the case of a citizen common”.
He voted to set a closed regime for the beginning of the sentence. For the rapporteur, there is no right to replacement by precautionary measures or conditional suspension of the sentence.
Minister Alexandre de Moraes, reviewer of the process, followed the vote of the rapporteur for the conviction of the former president. He did not comment on the 33 years of sentence proposed by Fachin.
Subsequently, ministers André Mendonça, Luís Roberto Barroso, Luiz Fux, Cármen Lúcia and Dias Toffoli were of the same understanding. They considered that sufficient evidence was attached against the group in the lawsuit.
Mendonça, Moraes, Rosa and Toffoli, however, ruled out the crime of criminal organization and the Supreme Court did not form a majority in relation to this crime. They considered that there was a criminal association, which has a lighter sentence than the previous one.
Gilmar Mendes and Kassio Nunes Marques voted for the ex-president’s acquittal. Gilmar said that the evidence presented at Lava Jato is not capable of proving the accusation and stated that whistleblowers presented versions of the operation that would put them in a better position to negotiate.
“[É] far away [o] historical relationship between the money changer responsible for evading billionaire figures with histrionic characters from Operation Lava Jato, notably former judge Sergio Moro and the now ineligible Deltan Dallagnol, then coordinator of the operation’s task force”, he said.
The minister called Youssef Moro’s “pet whistleblower”. “On the pretext that the collaborator’s reports would be useful for the investigation of serious crimes involving the political class, the public authorities celebrated generous, I repeat, generous collaboration agreements with Alberto Youssef”, he stated.
Nunes Marques also considered that the investigations were based on award-winning accusations and that the file did not present elements of consistent evidence to allow the formation of a judgment of certainty for the condemnation of the passive corruption practice.
He stated that the set of evidence did not indicate that the accused negotiated the sale of political support for the maintenance of directors of BR Distribuidora, with the purpose of obtaining an illicit advantage through embezzlement of public money.
Carmen Lúcia, on the other hand, said that it caused her enormous “civic bitterness” when she saw that the facts of the action took place between 2010 and 2014. She recalled that, in 2012, the STF judged for the first time the criminal action of the monthly allowance, which also addressed corruption and laundering.
“None of this caused any fear for people who were carrying out acts denounced later by the Public Ministry and, at least until now, considered duly proven”, he said.
She also said that the Constitution clearly expresses that public administration submits to the principle of morality. “Seeing this picture is exactly bitter for us to have to work with it. I hope that this judgment and all the others come to repair it”, she said.
Collor’s defense, led by lawyer Marcelo Bessa, maintained to the Supreme Court that the accusations against the former president are based only on plea bargains. He stated that there is no evidence against his client. According to Bessa, Collor was not responsible for appointing directors at BR Distribuidora.
Collor was president from 1990 to 1992 — the first president elected in direct elections after the military dictatorship — and left office in the midst of an impeachment process.
The complaint against Collor was one of the first offered by the Attorney General’s Office in the context of Lava Jato, in 2015.