By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Supreme Court (STF) in Brazil, deep in the middle of its long-running judgment of their biggest ever political corruption case, the mensalão scandal has now condemned 22 of the 37 accused of buying political support. In the case known officially as “Ação Penal 470,” there now seems no doubt the cash-for-votes scheme existed.
Monday saw twelve more defendants found guilty, all linked to four parties (PL [now PR], PP, PTB, PMDB) allied to former President Lula’s government, and all of which had been accused of receiving money in exchange for supporting Lula’s politics.
Among them was Deputy Roberto Jefferson (PTB), who was responsible for exposing the mensalão scheme and has already been found guilty of passive corruption (receiving undue advantage) and money laundering.
Other deputies, including Valdemar Costa Neto (PR), were found guilty of setting up the core group.
The more important vote on ten figures accused of active corruption which was scheduled for Monday will now take place on Wednesday.
Among them is José Dirceu, Lula’s Chief of Staff from 2003-2005 who resigned over the corruption charges, and who is widely accused of being the architect of the scheme. He also faces charges of embezzlement, racketeering and money laundering.
The accusations leveled at the 37 politicians have fallen into four categories: misappropriating public funds, fraudulent management, money laundering and inter-party corruption.
Each of the accused found guilty of a crime will be sentenced at the end of the judgment, expected towards the end of October, and punishments might include a prison sentence or community service.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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