Crime & Justice

Supreme Court invalidates all evidence obtained through Odebrecht agreements

Rio de Janeiro, Sept 6 (EFE).- A Brazilian Supreme Court judge annulled Wednesday all evidence obtained through collaboration agreements with the construction company Odebrecht, which affected several politicians and business people from Brazil and other countries.

Judge José Dias Toffoli decided in response to a request made by the defense of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who spent 580 days in prison after being convicted of corruption and money laundering after a trial that was later annulled, which was partly based on the evidence offered by Odebrecht.

In his ruling, the magistrate also ordered entities such as the Attorney General’s Office, the Union Legal Office, and the National Council of Justice to investigate the responsibility of the public agents involved in the execution of the leniency agreement with the construction company.

According to Toffoli, “the causes that led to the nullity of the evidence obtained from the cooperation agreement entered into by Odebrecht are objective” and are not limited to Lula’s “subjective universe.”

The agreement was achieved through negotiations in Brazil, the United States, and Switzerland due to suspicions that the construction company handled bribes in the three countries.

However, he explained there is no request for international legal cooperation to instruct the process. He pointed out “that the formal channels were bypassed,” which would have been given “outside the legislation related to the matter.”

According to the magistrate, in addition to the direct dealings with the authorities in the North American country and Switzerland, the judges acted without the “necessary competence” of official entities such as the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, and Public Security.

According to Toffoli, these negotiations resulted in “severe consequences” for the Brazilian State and “hundreds of defendants and legal entities in criminal proceedings, administrative impropriety proceedings, electoral proceedings and civil proceedings throughout the country and abroad.”

The magistrate’s decision is an extension of a determination given in 2021 by Judge Ricardo Lewandowski (now retired and whose cases Toffoli took over), who declared null and void the evidence related to Lula’s cases obtained through the agreement with Odebrecht.

The current Brazilian president, who in January 2023 assumed his third term in office after leading the country between 2003 and 2010, was prevented from contesting the 2018 presidential elections because he was politically disqualified by the conviction that was subsequently annulled. EFE


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