Brazil: Lula’s right hand sentenced to 30 years in prison for corruption

BRASILIA – Former Brazilian minister José Dirceu has been imprisoned for 30 years for corruption, the same crime that led to former president Lula da Silva, who was the most faithful squire for decades.

Dirceu was found guilty of receiving bribes from the corruption plot that operated at state-owned Petrobras and was uncovered in 2014 by the “Lava Jato” operation.

His entry into prison is another blow to the Workers Party (PT), which maintains a strong influence despite the fact that the last few years have passed between the prison and the courts.

Dirceu chaired the PT, coordinated the campaign that brought Lula to power for the first time in the 2002 elections and as Minister of the Presidency was one of the most influential men.

However, he was forced to resign, dragged by a serious scandal of parliamentary bribes, “Mensalao”, which cost him a first sentence of nine years in prison, which he already fulfilled, and then became involved in the corruption in Petrobras, so He was again sentenced, this time to 30 years in prison.

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According to the Justice, even while he was serving his first sentence, the former minister received bribes for US $ 3.24 million from Engevix, in exchange for influencing the granting of contracts with Petrobras.

Dirceu resorted to this sentence in freedom, but a court of second instance denied his appeals and ordered the immediate execution of the sentence, which he will serve in a detention center in Curitiba, the same city in which Lula is imprisoned.

Until collapsed by the scandal of parliamentary bribes, he was seen as the unquestionable successor of Lula in power. Like Lula, Dirceu calls himself the victim of a supposed “political persecution”, articulated by him by the Brazilian “elite” to corral the left.–MercoPress