The STF (Supreme Federal Court) formed a majority, this Monday (20), to acquit, due to lack of evidence, former federal deputy Paulinho da Força (Solidarity) in alleged participation in a scheme to embezzle values released in financing contracts for the BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development).
The ministers accepted the arguments presented by Paulo Pereira da Silva’s defense against the decision of the First Panel of the court in 2020 that sentenced the politician to 10 years and 2 months in prison for the crimes of money laundering and criminal association.
The former parliamentarian had been denounced by the PGR (Attorney General’s Office) for acting on three loans from the state bank totaling R$524 million. The analysis takes place in the virtual plenary (votes entered into the court’s electronic system).
According to the accusation, part of the amounts obtained by the legal entities benefiting from the financing would have been allocated to third parties for their role in releasing the resources.
The complaint also stated that the money was effectively delivered or deposited in bank accounts of individuals or legal entities somehow linked to the accused, “immediately after the BNDES releases and in the exact amounts indicated as owed to him”.
In an appeal called “embargos for clarification”, the politician’s lawyers denied the accusations and argued that there was no loss to the bank.
The trial was interrupted in June this year, after a request for review (more time to analyze the case) presented by Minister Dias Toffoli.
Ministers Alexandre de Moraes, Gilmar Mendes, André Mendonça, Cristiano Zanin, Kassio Nunes Marques and Toffoli himself voted for Paulinho’s acquittal.
The president of the STF and rapporteur of the action, Luís Roberto Barroso, and ministers Edson Fachin and Luiz Fux voted to convict the former deputy, excluding the gang crime as there was a statute of limitations, reducing his sentence to 8 years and 2 months of confinement.
Barroso considered that the The ruling that condemned the politician “is quite clear” and demonstrated “widely and deeply” the existence of the scheme of misappropriation of values and that he had contributed to it.
“Subsequently, with a thorough examination of the evidence and a careful analysis of the defensive version, (the ruling) substantiated how the plaintiff participated directly in these frauds, using his influence to appoint people who could carry out the deviations in favor of the group and benefiting these deviations”, he stated.
Barroso also argued that, although the defense had requested the suspension of his ineligibility in sentencing, this would not be valid, since the understanding of the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) is that this penalty is not applicable if it is still possible to present another type of sentence. of appeal in the process, of “infringing embargoes”, as is the case.
Moraes was the first to disagree with Barroso and voted to dismiss the criminal action brought against Paulinho and acquit him of the crimes previously mentioned.
The minister stated that there is not enough evidence for conviction, “as severe doubts remain regarding the existence of the value embezzlement scheme”.
“The examination of the evidence does not indicate, in any doubt, the participation of the defendant in criminal conduct, using his influence to appoint people who could carry out the deviations in favor of the group and benefiting from these deviations”, he said.
The Supreme Court also formed a majority to consider that it is the group’s responsibility to assess and judge this type of appeal.
In recent days, the TSE revoked the mandate of federal deputy Marcelo de Lima Fernandes (PSB-SP), paving the way for Paulinho, substitute in the last elections, to return to the Chamber of Deputies.
The TSE understood, by 5 votes to 2, that Fernandes left the Solidariedade party without having just cause. Paulinho is one of the main chiefs of the acronym.