Brazil airline tycoon gets 16 years in jail for murder

BRASMLIA – A Brazilian airline tycoon has been sentenced to 16 years and six months in prison for his involvement in a 2001 murder, but could avoid jail time because he is 85.

Nene Constantino, whose family controls Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aereas, was convicted Friday along with three others in the murder of Marcio Leonardo de Sousa Brito, leader of a group of squatters.

He was found guilty by a court in Tabuatinga, near the capital Brasilia, of ordering the killing after Brito led an occupation of land owned by the family.

Constantino, also convicted of tampering with a witness, must pay a fine of 84,000 reais ($27,000).

He remains free while appealing the verdict and may be able to avoid going behind bars entirely because of his age.

“Constantino will not spend one day in prison,” prosecutor Bernardo Urbano Resende was quoted as saying by G1 news site. “He’s at the end of his life.”