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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 23:16 GMT 00:16 UK
Brazil's ex-first lady convicted
The wife of former Brazilian president Fernando Collor de Mello has been convicted of corruption and sentenced to 11 years and four months in jail.

Rosane Collor was found guilty of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a charity she headed when her husband was president.

Prosecutors said she profited from a scheme in which large quantities of powdered milk were bought for the charity, the Brazilian Aid Legion, at more than 40% above market prices.

Her lawyers are planning an appeal and she will remain free while this is pending.

'Abuse of power'

Federal Judge Marcus Bastos ruled against the former first lady on charges of abuse of power and misuse of funds - qualified as "passive corruption" by court - in an early 1990s case involving dry milk purchases from the Brazilian Assistance Legion, which Rosanne Collor then chaired.

Fernando Collor became president in 1989 on a tough anti-corruption ticket in the first democratic election after 30 years of military rule.
de Mello
Fernando Collor de Mello resigned as president in 1992

However, he resigned in 1992, narrowly escaping impeachment amid accusations of corruption.

The Supreme Court acquitted the former president of any wrongdoing because of a lack of evidence.

However, Congress barred him from holding public office for eight years, a ban that ends in December.

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