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Former Brazilian President faces new money laundering charge

BRAZIL: Jailed ex-President Lula bows out of presidential race

Brazil’s ex-president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, faces new corruption charge as part of investigations into the largest corruption scandal in Latin America.

In a statement by prosecutors in the Brazilian state of Curitiba, the former president, Lula, was accused of accepting four million reais (759,000 dollars) worth of bribes disguised as donations.

According to the prosecutors, the ex-president received bribes from construction giant Odebrecht as donations to the institute that carries his name.

Read also: COVID-19: Global cases surpass 22m, as Brazil gives nod to final-stage trials for new vaccine

They alleged that he illegally received the funds in ‘Instituto Lula’ accounts between December 2013 and March 2014 in exchange for granting contracts with state-run oil company Petrobras.

Attorneys for Lula said they were surprised by the charges and rejected them.

They added that the charge was an attempt by the prosecutors to criminalise four legitimate donations.

This is the fourth charge Lula has faced in a probe called ‘Lava Jato’ or ‘car wash’ corruption investigation, in less than a year after the country’s top court ordered him freed from jail in November, while he appealed his conviction in another case.

Lula’s conviction and imprisonment prevented him from contesting the October 2018 presidential election, which paved the way for the victory of right-winger Jair Bolsonaro.

Former judge Sergio Moro, who issued the ruling, later became justice minister in President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.

By Emmanuella Ibe…

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