RIO DE JANEIRO Ė Antonio Palocci, an influential minister in the governments of former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, was sentenced Monday to 12 years and two months in prison for taking bribes and money laundering, sources in the judiciary announced.
The sentence was handed down by Judge Sergio Moro, who is in charge of the trials of those involved in the gigantic corruption scandal at Brazilís state oil company Petrobras, and which now implicated the once powerful minister, 56, and a leader of the Workers Party (PT).
Palocci was arrested last year in late September on grounds of accepting bribes from the Odebrecht construction group between 2006 and 2013 in exchange for obtaining contracts for the company from his position of power.
The Attorney Generalís Office had accused the former minister in October 2016 for interfering in the bidding Petrobras had established for the purchase of 21 sounding lines by favoring the Odebrecht group.
In his sentence, Moro said the criminal practice of accepting bribes included a payment to Palocci of $10.2 million.
In 2002, Palocci was one of the organizers of the campaign that won the presidency for Lula, who named him finance minister in 2006.
Three years later he was forced to resign amid a notorious corruption scandal, but because he was such a political heavyweight he was able to return to the government in 2011, when Rousseff took over from Lula and appointed him Cabinet minister.
However, that lasted only six months, because just as when he was finance minister, he was widely suspected of corruption and Rousseff herself asked for his resignation.