Sergio Cabral, former governor Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state, was sentenced to 14 years and two months on Tuesday for corruption and money laundering. Cabral was governor [BBC report] from 2007 to 2014 and was instrumental in bringing the Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro. Cabral was detained [JURIST report] in November as part of a massive corruption investigation known as “Operation Car Wash.” Prosecutors accused Cabral of receiving hundreds of thousands dollars a month in kickbacks for giving construction firms lucrative contracts such as a petrochemical plant in Rio and the refurbishment of Maracana Stadium. It is estimated that the former governor had taken nearly 2.7 million reais (USD $813,000) in bribes. Also sentenced [LAT report] were former state Interior Minister Wilson Carlos Carvahlo and Cabral’s associate, Carlos Miranda. Cabral’s wife, Adriana Ancelmo, was acquitted of charges for lack of proof of her participation. Rodrigo Roca, Cabral’s lawyer, said [AP report] he will appeal the sentence.
Cabral is a member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party of President Michel Temer, who was recently part of a corruption probe [JURIST report] authorized by the Brazilian Supreme Court. Brazil has endured tumultuous times as former president Dilma Rousseff was impeached for corruption [JURIST op-ed] last year amidst a time of economic turmoil. In April Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered investigations into eight cabinet ministers [JURIST report] and dozens of lawmakers who are allegedly linked to the country’s so-called “car wash” bribery scheme. The investigation was ordered on the tails of an anti-corruption measure that was passed last December by the Brazilian Lower Chamber of Deputies. “Operation Carwash” [JURIST report] allows individuals who are subject to prosecution to seek criminal consequences against their prosecutors and judges if the officials abuse their powers. “Operation Carwash” was passed as charges have been filed against some of Brazil’s most powerful politicians, including former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva [JURIST report]. In late September former finance minister Antonio Palocci was arrested [JURIST report]. In November Rousseff’s lawyers filed documents [JURIST report] with the Superior Electoral Court in Brazil alleging that Temer was involved with bribery.