SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Nene Constantino Oliveira, patriarch of the family that created Brazilian airline Gol (GOLL4.SA), has been found guilty of homicide in connection with the 2001 murder of an activist who led a group of squatters occupying land owned by the family, a court in Brasilia said on Friday.
Oliveira, 85, was found guilty of ordering the murder of Marcio Leonardo de Sousa Brito, the court said.
The activist had led a group of 100 people who were camped at the facilities of a bus company, Viação Planeta, owned by Oliveira. A jury found that Oliveira ordered two employees to hire a hit man to kill Brito.
Oliveira was sentenced to serve 16 years and six months in prison, but he is free on appeal. Under Brazilian law, a defendant is normally jailed only after a verdict is upheld by a higher court.
Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA referred questions to a spokesman for the family, Rodrigo Haidar, who said the family had no comment. In the past, Gol has said the elder Oliveira had no role in the carrier.
Oliveira built Grupo Aurea, now known as Comporte, into Brazil's biggest bus transport company.
Led by Oliveira's son, Constantino de Oliveira Jr, Aurea founded and controlled Gol until the airline went public in 2004, selling shares on the Sao Paulo and New York Stock Exchanges.
Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Matthew Lewis