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(Bloomberg) -- An 80-foot luxury yacht, six top-of-the-range cars -- including an armored Land Rover -- and a half dozen watches from the likes of Cartier, Bulgari and Tag Heuer are going under the hammer in Rio de Janeiro as the state attempts to recoup some of the fortune embezzled by a former governor jailed for corruption.
Sergio Cabral has been sentenced this year to more than 50 years in prison for leading a criminal organization that diverted millions of dollars from public coffers during his two terms in office, between 2007 and 2014. During his trial, prosecutors documented his profligate lifestyle and taste for lavish trips. Now the court is trying to recover at least part of that money by auctioning assets valued at some 28 million reais ($8.8 million), including a beach-front mansion, five upscale apartments and a jet ski.
By receiving kickbacks from infrastructure projects launched during his administration, including the renovation of the Maracana stadium for the 2014 Fifa World Cup, Cabral amassed a fortune invested in real estate, jewelry and cars. The vast corruption scheme, unveiled as part of the wider Operation Carwash probe, contributed to a fiscal crisis that has engulfed Rio de Janeiro state, leaving public servants with delayed salaries and reducing basic services to the population.
The listing of Cabral’s luxury assets is the latest display of ostentatious wealth by a prominent Brazilian politician, and follows the recent police seizure of over 51 million reais in cash found in an apartment used by a former minister. Such revelations are likely to increase the already-high levels of cynicism towards the political class among an electorate recovering slowly from the country’s worst recession on record.
Cabral’s lawyer wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg by phone. The former governor is appealing his sentence, saying he never took bribes.
Federal judge Marcelo Bretas ordered the auction that will take place on Oct. 3 after sentencing Cabral last week to 45 years behind bars, the second time the former governor has been convicted this year. Among the assets put up for auction, the $2.5 million mansion where Cabral and his family would spend holidays drew the most attention, with more than 3,700 people checking its sales prospectus online. The furnished 5,000 square-feet residence sits on a property twice as large by the beach, and features two pools, a sauna, a helipad and large portraits of Cabral and his wife, Adriana Ancelmo, by the artist Romero Brito.
Ancelmo, the former first lady of Rio de Janeiro state, was also convicted of corruption this year and sentenced to 18 years’ prison, which she is currently serving under house arrest. Her apartment in Rio is not part of the auction.
--With assistance from David Biller
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