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Former Speaker of the House Found Guilty in Brazil’s Mensalão Scandal

Brazil's Justice Cezar Peluso Ten of the Brazilian Supreme Court justices have now voted on the first part of Penal Case 470, known as the mensalão (big monthly allowance). This Thursday, August 30, the Chief Justice will vote, ending this first phase.

The highlight of the case so far is that eight out of the eleven justices on the court have found federal deputy, and the former president of the Chamber of Deputies, João Paulo Cunha, guilty of passive corruption and at least one count of malfeasance.

At the same time, Marcos Valério and his partners in advertising agencies, Cristiano Paz and Ramon Hollerback, have been found guilty of active corruption, embezzlement and money laundering by most of the justices who have voted so far.

The same is true of Henrique Pizzolato, a former director in the Banco do Brasil, who has been found guilty of passive corruption, malfeasance and money laundering.

Sentencing in cases at the Brazilian Supreme Court usually only takes place at the end of oral presentations of the justice’s votes.

But, because of mandatory retirement next week, justice Cezar Peluso presented his vote yesterday and added sentences: a total of six years for Cunha (and forfeiture of his seat in Congress) for passive corruption and malfeasance (“peculato”).

Sixteen years for Marcos Valério, ten years and eight months for both Ramon Hollerbach and Cristiano Paz, all for active corruption and embezzlement – misappropriation of public funds (“peculato”).

Finally, Peluso sentenced Henrique Pizzolato to eight years and four months for passive corruption and malfeasance (“peculato”). It should be noted that Peluso did not condemn anyone for money laundering.

During the period of oral presentation of their votes by the eleven Supreme Court justices it is permitted for any one of them to make changes in their votes.

That happened yesterday when justice Ricardo Lewandowski, the revisor, made a change. He had absolved João Paulo Cunha of one count of malfeasance, involving the hiring of a journalist, because it was his understanding that the crime did not exist.

Yesterday he said he would now base his not guilty verdict on a lack of evidence.

ABr

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