Former Brazil chief-of-staff Dirceu jailed for 23 years

Updated: 2016-05-19 09:24


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Brazil's Federal Judiciary sentenced former chief-of-staff and Workers' Party (PT) founder, Jose Dirceu, to 23 years and three months in prison on Wednesday for corruption and money laundering related to government-run oil company Petrobras.

The decision was announced by judge Sergio Moro who is conducting in the first instance the Operation Car Wash, an investigation that has uncovered a broad corruption scheme in the government-run company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras).

Another 10 people were also condemned during the same criminal proceedings, including bribe operator Milton Pascowitch; the negotiator, Fernando Moura; and the former minister's adviser, Roberto Marques.

Dirceu, the former strong man during former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government (2003-2010), was previously sentenced to seven years and 11 months in jail for corruption, embezzlement, racketeering and money laundering in the Mensalao corruption scandal, a vote-buying scheme in Congress.

The historic PT leader was imprisoned in November 2013, and in November 2014 was placed under house arrest.

The former minister was put behind bars once again in August 2015 for his alleged involvement in the Operation Car Wash, when the attorneys investigated unlawful acts at Petrobras' service address.

A giant corruption scheme was uncovered which amounted to millions of U.S. dollars, involving executives from the government-owned oil company and supplier companies, including Brazil's large construction companies.