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Brazil's top court sentences ex-President Collor to prison for corruption

FILE PHOTO: Then-Senator Fernando Collor de Mello, also a former Brazilian president, during a vote session on the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, Brazil, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo

Brazil's supreme court voted on Wednesday to sentence former President Fernando Collor de Mello to 8 years and 10 months in prison on corruption and money laundering charges.

The Brazilian prosecutor's office accused Collor, 73, of having received around 30 million reais ($6 million) in bribes from a subsidiary of state-run oil company Petrobras.

The top court convicted the former senator in mid-May, but justices had still to decide on his sentence, which he can appeal.

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks with the country's former President Fernando Collor during the launch ceremony of the National Identity Card at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo

Collor was a dashing, liberalizing politician who became Brazil's first democratically elected president in 1989 after a two-decade military dictatorship, but he resigned three years later after the lower house of Congress impeached him.

A rakish, dynastic heir with a penchant for expensive sports cars, Collor was one of Brazil's original free-marketeers who

opposed Brazil's entrenched protectionism and sought to privatize state-run firms in his curtailed presidency.

He continued in politics and later served 26 years as a conservative senator for the northeastern state of Alagoas, where his well-to-do family was from. He chaired the foreign relations committee He lost his seat in last year's elections.

Collor himself could not immediately be reached for comment. In a note released by the time of his conviction, his defense lawyers said Collor did "not commit any crime" and expressed confidence that he would ultimately be exonerated.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Carolina Pulice and Anthony Boadle; editing by Grant McCool)

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