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Brazil's Supreme Court approves ruling that may overturn corruption convictions

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BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian Supreme Court justices approved late on Thursday a ruling that may overturn corruption convictions in the country’s largest ever corruption probe.

The majority of the Supreme Court ruled that defendants mentioned in plea deals by witnesses also accused of corruption should have the right to defend themselves after testimony of the whistleblower – the right to address the court last.

The ruling stems from an habeas corpus requested by a former employee at state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and may be used to annul corruption sentences.

Last August, the Supreme Court overturned the corruption sentence of former Petrobras CEO Aldemir Bendine based on a similar request by defence lawyers.

Prosecutors working at the country’s largest ever corruption probe, Car Wash, have said that if the ruling is applied, around 32 sentences involving 143 of the 162 people sentenced in the case could be overturned.

One of the corruption sentences that could be overturned is one of the several of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

(Reporting by Ricardo Britto in Brasilia; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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