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Brazil Supreme Court Unanimously Convicts First Congressman in Operation Lava Jato

05/30/2018 - 11h57

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LETÍCIA CASADO
FROM BRASÍLIA

Justices belonging to the second panel of Brazil's Supreme Court (STF) sentenced Nelson Meurer (PP-Paraná) to 13 years, 9 months and 10 days in prison for corruption and money laundering following Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato) and its investigations.

He is the first member of Brazil's Congress to be convicted by the Supreme Court with regard to the corruption scandal.

The congressman and his sons, Nelson Meurer Júnior and Cristiano Augusto Meurer, were charged by the General Prosecutor's Office (PGR) back in October of 2015, having been accused of participating in the misappropriation of funds that added up to R$ 33 million (US$ 8.9 million).

Meurer Junior and Cristiano Augusto were accused of receiving kickbacks. The former will face 4 years, 9 months and 18 days under house arrest; the latter was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison, but the sentence was considered to have been issued after the conviction deadline and he will not have to serve any time.

Zeca Ribeiro - 17.set.2013/Folhapress
Congressman Nelson Meurer
Congressman Nelson Meurer

The justices also ruled that Mr. Meurer and his sons will have to pay R$ 5 million (US$ 1.3 million) in damages to state-run oil company Petrobras.

Mr. Meurer can still appeal to the second panel. Typically, the chairman of the panel only orders defendants to begin serving their sentences after two appeals have been analyzed: the so-called "embargoes of declaration".

Once a final ruling has been made and no appeals are left, the Chamber of Deputies will have to decide on whether it should terminate Mr. Meurer's term in office.

Lawyer Michel Saliba, who is overseeing the congressman and his sons' defense said that he respects the STF's decision, but he does not agree with the terms set forth, "especially the length of the sentence", which he considered excessive.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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