The former treasurer of Brazil's ruling party has been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for his role in a massive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras.

The judge investigating the scandal found Joao Vaccari, who was the Workers Party treasurer until April, guilty of "corruption, money-laundering and conspiracy," and sentenced him to 15 years and four months.

Vaccari was accused of receiving bribes from Petrobras contractors and distributing them to members of the ruling party.

The contractors are alleged to have paid off certain Petrobras directors in return for inflated contracts, which they divided up among themselves.

Some of the kickbacks were alleged to have been paid to prominent politicians, most of them members of President Dilma Rousseff's governing centre-left coalition in the Brazilian Congress.

Petrobras estimates it lost about $2bn dollars in the scheme.

Source: AFP