Brazil's Supreme Court opens graft case into former president Collor de Mello

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-23 06:39:11|Editor: Zhou Xin

File photo taken on Aug. 31, 2016 shows Brazilian senator and former president Fernando Collor de Mello (Front) speaking during the Senate final impeachment session of Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, capital of Brazil. Brazil's Supreme Court on Aug. 22, 2017 accepted a case against Fernando Collor de Mello for corruption, money laundering and illicit association. (Xinhua/Li Ming)

BRASILIA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's Supreme Court accepted on Tuesday a case against former president, Fernando Collor de Mello, for corruption, money laundering and illicit association.

Collor de Mello, now a senator, is under investigation within the sweeping Operation Lava Jato (Car Wash).

Brazil's prosecutor-general has accused Collor de Mello of receiving 29 million reais (around 9 million U.S. dollars) in bribes for using his political influence with BR Distribuidora, a subsidiary of national oil company, Petrobras.

According to the charges, the senator bought luxury automobiles with the money. These include a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, a Bentley and two Land Rovers, seized by police during a raid in his home in Brasilia in July 2015.

The charges also allege that this corruption scheme involved his wife, Caroline Collor de Mello, and another six people who acted as "private operators."

The former president's lawyer has argued that there is no evidence Collor de Mello received illicit funding.

However, there is past weight as Collor de Mello stepped down as president in 1992 to answer severe accusations of corruption and to avoid impeachment. His resignation did not stop Congress from continuing the process and formally removing him from office.

At the time, an investigation proved the existence of an illegal funding ring run by Paulo Cesar Farias, treasurer of Collor de Mello's presidential campaign, who was assassinated a few years later under mysterious circumstances.

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