BRASILIA – A federal judge in Brazil has accepted new corruption charges against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who had already been indicted in four other graft cases.
In the latest case, prosecutors accused Lula of receiving bribes in exchange for helping Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht secure contracts with state oil company Petrobras.
Some of the alleged bribes were used to acquire land for the headquarters of the former head of state’s institute and an apartment near his private residence in the city of Sao Bernardo do Campo.
Lula already had been indicted in four other corruption cases, with a judge in Brasilia on Friday accepting charges that he took bribes from Saab in exchange for using his influence to help the Swedish aerospace giant secure a government contract for fighter jets.
In the latest case accepted by federal Judge Sergio Moro, Lula’s wife, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva; former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci; and Robert Teixeira, one of Lula’s defense attorneys; are co-defendants.
Prosecutors allege that the real estate was acquired by third parties using bribe money that Odebrecht paid Lula in exchange for his intervention to help the company secure lucrative contracts with Petrobras.
Moro also accepted charges against Marcelo Odebrecht, the now-imprisoned former CEO of that major construction company who, along with nearly 80 former directors and staff at the firm, has reached a plea deal with investigators.
Marcelo Odebrecht was sentenced in March to 19 years in prison after being convicted of corruption in a massive bribes-for-inflated contracts scheme centered on Petrobras.
Investigators say his company and other major Brazilian construction groups formed a cartel to overcharge the oil giant, splitting the extra money with corrupt Petrobras officials while setting aside some of the loot to pay off politicians who provided cover for the graft.
Lula, a towering figure in Brazilian politics, has been accused of being the lead orchestrator of the sprawling Petrobras corruption scheme, which is estimated to have cost the company as much as $2 billion.