Ex-President Testifies in Brazilian Corruption Probe

Ex-President Testifies in Brazilian Corruption Probe

Lula da Silva (commonly just called “Lula” by Brazilians), one of Brazil’s most popular leaders ever while he was President, was deposed by Judge Sergio Moro as part of a broad probe of political corruption in Brazil. The probe has already claimed da Silva’s successor Dilma Rousseff, who was removed from office last year.

At issue is Lula’s ownership of an apartment that prosecutors allege constituted a kickback that was received in return for steering business from state-owned oil company Petrobras.

Marcelo Odebrecht, who was CEO of a large engineering and construction firm named Odebrecht, was arrested in 2015 and convicted of giving a total of $30 million in bribes to various politicians in exchange for Petrobras contracts. Odebrecht in totality has paid $1 billion in bribes and as part of an agreement with prosecutors listed names of who accepted them. The names that were provided cover a significant part of Brazil’s political elite.

If Lula is convicted, he would be barred from again running for political office and would also face potential jail time. In his five hours of testimony, he called the investigation a “farce” and politically motivated.

Should he not be convicted, Lula has hinted that he would run again for President in 2018 and polls suggest that he would gain about 30% of the vote in the initial round – strong enough to advance to a run-off. Thousands of supporters assembled outside while Lula gave testimony to show their support for the former President and his party, the Workers’ Party.

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