Judge convicts head of Mitsubishi Motors representative in Brazil

The company logo of Mitsubishi Motors is seen at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The president of MMC Automotores, Mitsubishi Motors’s distributor and assembler in Brazil, was convicted on Wednesday for fomenting corruption and money laundering in a bribery scheme meant to help pass legislation benefiting the auto sector.

Judge Vallisney Oliveira in Brasilia sentenced Robert de Macedo to four years and two months of jail, saying he had hired lobbyists off the books. The company’s former president and several lobbyists were also sentenced.

MMC Automotores declined to comment.

The investigation, “Operation Zealots,” is looking into alleged bribes to lawmakers that prosecutors say ensured measures favored by the auto industry were passed during the governments of President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Leslie Adler