June 5, 2023
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Brazilian center-right ex-president Fernando Collor de Mello (1990-1992) was found guilty of corruption and money laundering by the Supreme Court of Brazil on Thursday May 25, in connection with the “Lavage-express” scandal. . Eight of the ten judges ruled in favor of his conviction. The reporting judge for the case, Edson Fachin, has mentioned a sentence of up to 33 years in prison, but this will not be pronounced until May 31.

First head of state elected by direct universal suffrage after the military dictatorship, Collor, 73, is accused of having received 20 million reais (about 3.8 million euros) in bribes from 2010 to 2014, when he was a senator. Edson Fachin judged that the ex-president had argued “his political influence to facilitate the signing of contracts”. According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, around forty payments were made to facilitate “irregularly” the signing of these contracts between a construction company and a subsidiary of the public oil company Petrobras. The defense denies all charges.

A huge hope

The investigation was opened in the context of the “Lavage-express” scandal, which shook the entire Brazilian political spectrum from 2014. In 1989, the election at just 40 years old of Fernando Collor de Mello , opposed in the second round to the current left-wing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had aroused immense hope. But the Brazilians were quickly disillusioned: barely two years after coming to power, he resigned after seeing Congress open impeachment proceedings against him for passive corruption. He still managed to return to politics in 2006, getting himself elected senator of Alagoas, a poor state in the north-east, a seat he held until the end of last year. At the end of his second eight-year term in the Upper House, Collor openly supported far-right ex-President Jair Bolsonaro.

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