By Lucy Jordan, Senior Contributing Reporter
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – A majority in the Supreme Court has found three of the four mensalão defendants connected to the Banco Rural (Rural Bank) guilty of mismanagement of a financial institution, Agencia Brasil reported. The president of the court, Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, was the last to deliver his vote, condemning Katia Rabello, José Roberto Salgado and Vinícius Samarane, all former directors of the bank.
Ayanna Tenorio, the fourth of the Banco Rural defendants, was acquitted by nine votes to one. Samarane received eight votes for and two against conviction, for having covered up irregularities in financial reports.
Rabello, chief shareholder and former president of the bank and Salgado, a former vice-president, were convicted unanimously.
The Banco Rural defendants are four of 37 accused in the huge corruption case known as the mensalão, or big monthly payment, in reference to the bribes that some coalition members allegedly received to ensure their support for the PT.
Globo calculated the amount of money allegedly siphoned off may be as much as R$100 million.
The bank is accused of giving the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party, PT) preferential treatment, including the authorization of loans without guarantees. Mismanagement is categorized as a law of crimes against the financial system and can result in a prison sentence of between three and twelve years.
So far in the mensalão trial, eight of the 37 defendants have been found guilty by a majority; three within the Banco Rural and five regarding the misuse of public resources.
Ministers are able to change their votes up until the final result is announced at the end of the trial.
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