More charges laid against ex-pres­i­dent Lula

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS -

BRAZIL­IAN PROSE­CU­TORS said on Monday that they have brought new charges against for­mer Pres­i­dent Luiz Iná­cio Lula da Silva, adding yet an­other ac­cu­sa­tion to a se­ries of cor­rup­tion charges against the em­bat­tled left-lean­ing leader who is also a pres­i­den­tial hope­ful for 2018.

Fed­eral prose­cu­tors said in a state­ment that Lula in­ter­fered in state-run de­vel­op­ment bank BNDES to as­sure fi­nanc­ing for a small firm owned by a nephew of his late first wife.

The charges against him and 10 other peo­ple, in­clud­ing ex­ec­u­tives of Brazil’s mam­moth con­struc­tion com­pany Ode­brecht, in­clude cor­rup­tion, money laun­der­ing, in­flu­ence traf­fick­ing and crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Lula’s at­tor­ney, Cris­tiano Zanin, said in a press con­fer­ence that he didn’t have ac­cess to the probe and that his client couldn’t have in­ter­fered be­cause Brazil’s de­vel­op­ment bank only makes col­le­gial de­ci­sions. He also re­buked the ac­cu­sa­tion made by prose­cu­tors that speeches given by the once hugely pop­u­lar politi­cian were ac­tu­ally a dis­guise to chan­nel bribes.

Monday’s an­nounce­ment is only the most re­cent of Lula’s grow­ing le­gal woes.

Last month Sergio Moro, a judge hailed as a hero by ad­ver­saries of Lula’s Work­ers’ Party, ruled that the for­mer pres­i­dent must stand trial on money-laun­der­ing and cor­rup­tion charges in­volv­ing com­pany-fi­nanced im­prove­ments at a beach­front apart­ment. Lula says he never owned the apart­ment.

SEP­A­RATE CASE

Lula will also stand trial in a sep­a­rate case in which a for­mer ally-turned-en­emy sen­a­tor ac­cuses him of ob­struc­tion of jus­tice in the sprawl­ing scan­dal at state-run oil gi­ant Petro­bras.

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