Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Brazil: Former Governor of Minas Gerais sentenced to 10 years for money laundering and others

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The Electoral Court sentenced former Governor of Minas Gerais, Fernando Pimentel (PT) to 10 years and 6 months in prison for influence peddling and money laundering, with the aggravating abuse of power, for using the office of minister to commit the crimes. The inquiry found cash irregularities 2 during the time that Pimentel was Development Minister in the Dilma government between 2011 and 2014.

Divine Judge de Paula Peixôto ruled that the sentence should be served in a closed regime, but the former governor may appeal freely.

Entrepreneur Benedito Rodrigues de Oliveira, “Bené”, who reportedly provided services for the Pimentel campaign to the Minas Gerais government in 2014 and helped with the box 2 scheme, was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Marcos Coimbra, a partner of Vox Populi, and businessman Márcio Hiran Novaes were sentenced to 2 years, 9 months and 18 days in prison. The penalty was replaced by provision of community services (1 hour per day of conviction) and the payment of 30 minimum wages.

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The ruling states that the political rights of Pimentel and the other defendants will be suspended after the conviction has been res judicata – that is, when no further appeal is available.

What the defenses say

Eugenio Pacelli, Pimentel’s lawyer , said the conviction “exceeded any reasonable limit . 

[su_quote]I have never seen anything so unreasonable and so contrary to the evidence of the case. Collaborators changing versions, facts clearly invented in the police and in court, and unveiled in audience. And accepted as truth,” said the defense.[/su_quote]

The lawyer also stated that “this sentence, of surprising fragility, will be entirely reviewed on appeal.”

In the process, Pimentel’s defense said he never took advantage or pledged support for the 2014 election campaign. He also claimed that there was no money laundering crime because there was no previous crime. “If there was fraud in invoices intended to cover up spending on the election campaign, the defendant was not even much less aware of it,” the defense said, according to the ruling.

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Lawyer Roberto Pagliuso, who defends Bené , said that “this condemnation of Pimentel is the result of effective collaboration” with the court.

Paulo Crosara, lawyer for Márcio Hiram , said the conviction is “a mistake, as there is no evidence against him. In addition, this is appointed as representative of Vox Populi, although for months no longer provide services for the company on the date of the alleged crimes. We will appeal and have confidence that the sentence will be reversed in TRE-MG. “

The G1 contacted the PT directory in Minas Gerais by telephone at 8:30 am, but did not receive a reply until 9:00. Still in the morning, the advice of the PT’s national headquarters in Brasilia was sought, which did not respond until the last update of the report.

The G1 also called Marcos Coimbra’s defense at 8:30 am, but got no replies until the last update.

Complaints and Judgment

The investigation, related to Operation Acronym , was conducted by the Federal Public Prosecution Service and then passed on to the Electoral Public Prosecution Service.

According to the complaint, the former governor of Minas Gerais committed influence peddling by negotiating an agreement with businessman José Auriemo Neto, partner of JHSF Incorporations. This company obtained the right to operate Catarina airport, in São Roque , in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region, and, in turn, made transfers to PT and Pimentel during the 2014 election campaign, when it disputed the Minas government and won. . This airport is expected to open in December this year.

Investigators say the person responsible for brokering the negotiations was businessman Bené, owner of a printing company. He signed an award-winning plea agreement and admitted to using the press to pay Pimentel undue advantages.




In the collaboration, Bené said that the former governor of Minas charged $ 4.25 million in bribes of the JHSF group. Part of this money was donated to PT. Another part was transferred to Vox Populi as box 2, to pay the expenses of the Pimentel campaign to the Minas government. A third part, R $ 200 thousand in cash, was delivered in a purse to a holder on September 22, 2012, in São Paulo.

The lawsuit against José Auriemo Neto, partner of JHSF, was suspended after he made a donation of $ 1 million to Barretos Cancer Hospital. In a note, the businessman said he has already made this payment.

JHSF said it is not a party to this proceeding and that no complaint has been filed against the company. “In 2017, the company’s controller signed a collaboration agreement with the Brazilian authorities, already approved by the Superior Court of Justice, to clarify the facts,” he said in a statement.

In the sentence, Judge Divina de Paula Peixôto said she analyzed money laundering and influence peddling crimes because a ruling by the Federal Supreme Court this year established the Electoral Justice’s jurisdiction to prosecute crimes related to electoral crimes .

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