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Lula acccused of corruption in Petrobras probe

December 15, 2016

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sees new charges in the ongoing Petrobras scandal. It is not certain whether he will face trial.

Brasilien Lula da Silva Ex-Präsident
Image: Reuters/P. Whitaker

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was charged with corruption and money laundering Thursday in the ongoing Petrobras embezzlement scandal, more commonly known as Operation Car Wash.

Federal prosecutors accused Lula of taking bribes from construction firm Odebrecht. The bribes came in the form of an apartment and land on which to build his Lula Institute think tank in Sao Paulo.

Eight others were also charged Thursday, including Lula's wife, Marisa Leticia, and former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci. Prosecutors alleged a total of 75 million reais ($22.1 million, 21.3 million euros) was involved in bribes related to eight contracts with Petrobras.

Lula representative Jose Chrispiniano said the prosecutors investigating the scandal "have invented a new story for their obsessive quest to paint the ex-president as responsible for the embezzlement."

Lula has already been ordered to stand trial on previous charges related to the Petrobras embezzlement scandal.

Comeback still on

The former Brazilian president is considering running for the office again in 2018. The founder of the Workers' Party, Lula was president from 2003-2010. Despite Thursday's charges, polls still show Lula as a frontrunner in the election.

Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office earlier this year. The Workers' Party saw setbacks in recent municipal elections.

Marcelo Odebrecht, former head of the Odebrecht construction company at the center of the Operation Car Wash scandal, has been convicted and was sentenced to 19 years in prison. However, Odebrecht and almost 80 other executives from the construction company are cooperating with prosecutors in a plea bargain for reduced sentences. Their testimony will potentially reveal more connections in the unfolding scandal. Current president, Michel Temer, is among those namedin the testimony.

kbd/sms (AFP, AP)

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