Former Brazil chief-of-staff jailed for 23 years

Brasilia: Brazil's Federal Judiciary sentenced former chief-of-staff and Workers Party (PT) founder Jose Dirceu to 23 years and three months in prison for corruption and money laundering.

The decision was announced on Wednesday by judge Sergio Moro, who is conducting in the first instance the Operation Car Wash, an investigation that has uncovered a broad corruption scheme in the government-run company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), reports Xinhua news agency.

Another 10 people were also condemned during the criminal proceedings including bribe operator Milton Pascowitch, negotiator Fernando Moura and the former minister's adviser, Roberto Marques.

Dirceu, the former strong man during former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government (2003-10), was previously sentenced to seven years and 11 months in jail for corruption, embezzlement, racketeering and money laundering in a vote-buying scheme in Congress.

The PT leader was imprisoned in November 2013 and a year later was placed under house arrest.

The former minister was put behind bars once again in August 2015 for his alleged involvement in the Operation Car Wash when the attorneys investigated unlawful acts at Petrobras' service address.

A giant corruption scheme was uncovered which amounted to millions of US dollars, involving executives from the government-owned oil company and supplier companies, including Brazil's large construction companies.

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