By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The ex-governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral, was sentenced to fourteen years and two months in prison for passive corruption and money laundering in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) graft on Tuesday, June 13th.
The former governor will also have to pay a fine of R$528,000 in what Judge Sergio Moro called systematic bribe operations.
“The responsibility of a state governor is enormous and therefore also his culpability when he commits crimes. There can be no more serious offense than that of the one who betrays the mandate and the sacred trust that the people place in him only to obtain their own gain,” wrote Moro in his sentence.
According to Moro, the lead judge in the Lava Jato investigation, there was systematic collection by the former governor and his associates of a percentage in bribes for all public works in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Also sentenced were Cabral’s former secretary Wilson Carlos Carvalho (ten years and eight months), and the former governor’s partner, Carlos Emanuel Miranda (twelve years). Moro acquitted Cabral’s wife, Adriana Ancelmo, for lack of proof of participation in the crimes.
The Lava Jato task force however, was not pleased with the length of the sentence and announced it will appeal the verdict. According to a statement released by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) in Paraná, the prosecution will request a ‘significant increase’ in the penalties imposed on the former governor and his co-conspirators. Prosecutors also said they will appeal the acquittal of Cabral’s wife.
Julia Michaels, an American expatriate, author and the journalist behind Rio Real Blog lives in Rio and told The Rio Times, “He is going to appeal the decision and the sentence, but there are several other cases in which he stands accused. […] Cabral’s destiny is part of a much bigger story in Brazil and in the world, I think.”
She adds optimistically, “Politics are never going to be the same here or anywhere else. The internet provides us with faster and more information about politics and politicians and will ultimately help us to keep their behavior in check, and more accountable to voters.”
Cabral, who served two terms as governor of Rio de Janeiro state, was jailed in November of 2016 accused of being a key figure in the creation of a cartel to administrate and execute large construction venues, including the restoration of Maracanã Stadium, using federal resources.
Investigators say that the contracts were won through the payment of bribes to public agents. Cabral is said to have received kickbacks from state construction works totaling R$220 million.