By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Two main participants in Brazil’s largest corruption and bribery scandals in recent history have been sentenced to jail time by federal prosecutors. Former Petrobras Supply director, Paulo Roberto Costa, and black-market money dealer, Alberto Youssef, were convicted for their involvement with the overcharging of the construction of the Abreu e Lima Refinery in Pernambuco state.

Paulo Roberto Costa, Petrobras director, Two Major Players in Lava Jato Scheme Sentenced in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Former Petrobras director, Paulo Roberto Costa admitted to receiving illicit money, photo by Antonio Cruz/Agencia Brasil.

Federal Judge, Sérgio Moro, denied a judicial pardon to the two accused men although both have been cooperating with federal police for reduced incarceration times.

“Judicial pardon is not applicable in this case,” said the judge, adding “the effectiveness of the corroboration is not the only element to be considered.” Moro stated that severity of the crimes practiced would not deem the actions pardonable.

The former Petrobras executive received an incarceration time of seven years and six months for money laundering and participation in organized crime. He will serve one year under house arrest and then be able to leave his home during the day and return at night and wear an electronic ankle bracelet for the remainder of his sentence.

Youssef, on the other hand, was sentenced to serve three of his nine-year-sentence behind bars, and then be allowed a work release program. Six other men also accused of involvement in the scheme were also sentenced.

According to Judge Moro, Costa and Youssef conducted operations which involved illicit and fraudulent charges of over US$6.2 million. The Federal Prosecutors’ Office said the construction of the Abreu e Lima Refinery was budgeted at a little over US$800 million, but up to now has cost almost US$7 billion and is not yet completed.


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