By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A court in Rio de Janeiro has determined that the millions recovered in the state from the Lava Jato (Carwash) corruption scandal be used to pay more than 140,000 public servants retirees.
According to local media R$250 million of the almost R$320 million recovered during the investigations of corruption by former Rio governor, Sergio Cabral, will be used to pay retirees’ 2016 end-of-year bonus.
Brazilian prosecutor Júlio Ambrósio dos Santos Júnior, who is part of the Lava Jato task force in Rio, said the use of money to pay retirees was negotiated with the government of Rio de Janeiro. “We said we would give back the state money, provided it was tied to the payment of retirees,” the prosecutor said.
Cabral was arrested on November 17th, accused of receiving kickbacks from state construction works. Cabral is also accused of passive corruption and money laundering in bribes related to a Petrobras contract with construction giant Andrade Gutierrez.
Local media has reported that Cabral along with his wife, Adriana Ancelmo received millions in cash, diamonds and jewelry during his tenure as Rio de Janeiro governor. According to prosecutors, Cabral had ‘laundered’ millions foreign and domestic accounts, some of which officials were able to retrieve.
“The total concealed abroad corresponds to R$318,554,478.91, which represents only part of what was taken from the public coffers, through an ingenious process of sending funds from abroad,” said the prosecutors’ formal complaint to the court in the beginning of March.
The state of Rio de Janeiro currently faces one of its worst financial crisis in decades, with the government not being able to pay its state employees. In June of 2016 Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor, Francisco Dornelles, declared a financial emergency in the state weeks before the start of the 2016 Olympics and Paralympic Games.