Ex-Brazil pres­i­dent gets term in prison

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

RIO DE JANEIRO — For­mer Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Silva was con­victed Wed­nes­day of cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing, the most high-profile con­vic­tion yet in a wide-rang­ing graft in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Fed­eral Judge Ser­gio Moro sen­tenced Silva to 9½ years in prison, but the for­mer leader will re­main free while an ap­peal is heard.

The de­ci­sion was widely ex­pected, even by Silva’s de­fense team.

In many quar­ters in Brazil, Silva re­mains pop­u­lar, and he is con­sid­ered a front-run­ner in next year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

The case is part of a cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion that has led to the con­vic­tion of dozens of busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives and politi­cians.

Silva was ac­cused of re­ceiv­ing a beach­front apart­ment and re­pairs to the prop­erty as kick­backs from the con­struc­tion com­pany OAS. Pros­e­cu­tors said OAS also paid to store Silva’s be­long­ings, but Moro dis­missed that part of the case.

The for­mer pres­i­dent has said the charges are un­founded.

The case will now be heard by a group of mag­is­trates. Un­der Brazil­ian law, Silva will be barred from seek­ing of­fice if the con­vic­tion is up­held.

AP/AN­DRE PEN­NER

Demon­stra­tors cel­e­brate the de­ci­sion by Judge Ser­gio Moro to con­vict for­mer Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Silva on Wed­nes­day in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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