The ex-president of Brazil, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, commonly known as Lula is being taking to court on corruption charges linked to Operation Carwash, which is the common name for a huge kickback and bribery scheme within the state owned petrol company Petrobras.
On Monday, the judge overseeing the Operation Car Wash investigation accepted that there was enough evidence to take the one of Brazil’s most popular presidents to court.
This comes after Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff was recently impeached for breaking fiscal and budget laws.
The ex-president, Lula, is accused of taking $1.1 million in bribes, which was allegedly laundered through the purchase, and renovation of beach side property in Curitiba, in the south of Brazil. The flats were built by a company implicated in the scandal.
As well as Lula, his wife and six others have been indicted. Husband and wife deny the claims, saying that they were invented to damage his political career and achievements in office. His achievements while president were numerous – rising incomes and a growing economy during his presidency have been credited with lifting 29 million Brazilians into the middle class. His social programmes was also very popular and during his presidency the amount of time children stayed in education increased.
However, he has now been charged with three counts of corruption, which each carry a maximum sentence of 16 years. He has also been accused of money laundering, with a possible sentence of 10 years per count – though no arrest warrant has yet been issued.
He has been implicated in Operation Car Wash since July 2015, along with most of today’s politicians. The two men who orchestrated Mrs Rousseff’s impeachment are also being investigated in relation to Operation Car Wash: the now ex-president of the Chamber of Deputies, Edward Cunha, as well as the new president Michel Temer have both been accused of involvement.
The prosecutors allege that Lula was the kingpin of the Petrobras scheme, however this accusation seems the most flimsy, and his conviction is not secure. However, if he is convicted, he will not be able to run for the presidency in 2018, which he is reportedly considering.