More charges laid against ex-president Lula
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.
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.