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Brazilian prosecutors seek Lula's arrest for money laundering

Prosecutors in Brazil have requested for the detention on former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula has been accused of fraud and money laundering in connection with a beachfront apartment.

Sao Paulo state prosecutors have asked on Thursday that Lula be placed in "preventive custody," which comes a day after

prosecutors called for him to be placed under formal investigation.

"His detention is necessary for the progress of the case because it has been demonstrated that because of his status as an ex-president he is able to place himself above the law," said the document filed with the court. "He cannot incite the population to rise up against criminal investigations by the prosecution, the police, nor against the decisions made by the justice system."

Prosecutors filed charges against the 70-year-old on Wednesday for his connection of an apartment in the coastal city of Guaruja.

Lead prosecutor Cassio Conserino accused Lula of retaining a triplex apartment for his family, saying that "thousands of families lost their apartments and saw their dreams of becoming homeowners shattered, [while] one of those investigated received a triplex."

Lula has denied any wrongdoing and said in a statement that he is not the owner of the apartment. The ruling Workers' Party, which Lula co-founded, also condemned the prosecution's request.

Ripe with scandal

Last Friday, Lula was briefly detained following

a morning raid on his home

in greater Sao Paulo's Sao Bernardo do Campo district. The former president was released hours later after questioning and was not formally arrested. However, further properties of his, including the headquarters of his nonprofit foundation Instituto Lula and properties connected to his family members, were also searched.

The request for Lula to be placed in custody was made after prosecutors said Lula called on his supporters to hold mass protests last Friday about

his connection to the Petrobras corruption scandal,

in which prosecutors allege that the country's biggest company paid more than $2 billion (1.82 billion euros) in bribes to businessmen to obtain lucrative contracts.

The scandal has rocked the Brazilian establishment and the government of President Dilma Rousseff.

Watch video 01:46

Brazil: Operation Car Wash has dirt on Lula

smm/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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