Brazil: Head of Workers' Party Absolved of Corruption Charges


The head of Brazil’s once dominant leftist Workers’ Party, Gleisi Hoffmann, was absolved of corruption and money laundering Tuesday by the Supreme Court.

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The five judges of the court unanimously found the senator innocent, discarding the four testimonies that the prosecution presented against her because they failed to amount to "sufficient evidence."

Judge Edson Fachin also highlighted that the testimonies presented "contradictions" and therefore could not be received as evidence.

Hoffman’s husband Paulo Bernardo, a former planning and communications minister, was also absolved at the Supreme Court as part of the same case.

Hoffmann denied the charges from the beginning of the trial, condemning the attempt at "political persecution" by her adversaries.

Prosecutors accused the couple of receiving a million reais in 2010 (US$568,000 at the time) embezzled from state-oil company Petrobras. The money was allegedly used in a campaign slush fund.

Accused of being involved in the "Car Wash" corruption probe, Hoffman was facing sentences of between two and 12 years in prison, with an additional three to 10 for money laundering. Prosecutors were also seeking restitution of four million reais, or just over US$1 million at current rates.

The huge web of corruption was centered on Petrobras, with the company handing out inflated contracts to Brazilian companies in exchange for bribes, many of which went into politicians’ pockets.

Hoffmann’s trial came as part of a new offensive against the Workers’ Party, which led Brazil between 2003 and 2015 under presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. Lula, who founded the party, was imprisoned in April while Rousseff is out of politics, having been impeached and removed from office in 2015.


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