Brazil: Prosecutors Seek Arrest of Ex-President


Brazilian prosecutors want ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to be arrested in connection with a money laundering case. They want a formal investigation over the case.

Prosecutors said that the request for his arrest came after the assumption that he could cause problems in the investigation. However, the decision is yet to be taken by the judge. He can be considered  a defendant only after judge accepts the charges. In a case of conviction, he could face a jail sentence up to 13 years.

On Wednesday, prosecutors in Sao Paulo charged Silva for concealing a beach-front penthouse property of Guaruja. However, Silva contradicts the charges, terming it a political move against him. He said he never owned the property.

Lula’s lawyer Cristiano Zanin Martins said that there was a media propaganda against the former president. “The owner of a property is the person listed in the registry. It doesn’t matter who some people think it belongs to,” Martins said in a report by BBC.

Martin added that Silva invested in the property, but he later asked for his money back. He did not receive the property and never owned it.

The allege secretly owned penthouse property is believed to be renovated by the construction companies who were involved in the Petrobras corruption scandal.

One of the construction companies, OAS, was accused of paying bribes to political officials at Petrobras to secure the contracts.

Officially the property in question belongs to OAS. However, prosecutors allege that Silva is actually behind it and is taking huge benefits from OAS. Authorities are also probing the financial contributions made by the company and other firms into Instituto Lula, a nonprofit foundation.

Last Friday Silva was detained in Sao Paulo’s Sao Bernardo do Campo district, following a police raid at his properties. Police searched all his properties including those that belong to members of his family as well as the headquarters of Instituto Lula.

The detention was unofficial  but it was part of an ongoing probe of the Petrobras scandal. He was later released after four hours, according to a report by DW.

Silva was the president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. Later he handed over his position to Dilma Rousseff.  There are rumours, though, that he may proceed to run for office again in 2018.

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