Ex-Brazilian President faces new graft charges

Brasilia, Oct 11 (IANS) Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and 10 other persons have been slapped with new corruption charges, the authorities said.

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged Lula, businessman Marcelo Odebrech and the others with “corruption, money laundering and influence peddling”, Xinhua news agency reported.

They were accused of using the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) to fund the Angolan government in exchange for contracts, authorities said.

The leading Brazilian firm Odebrecht Construction was hired to work in Angola after the Angolan government received funds from the BNDES, prosecutors said.

The contracts with Angola involved bribes of up to 30 million reais (around $9 million), prosecutors said.

Lula would use his position to ensure the BNDES and other lending agencies granted funds to Angola, as part of a plan to boost Brazil’s exports, prosecutors said.

They said the money laundering charges stemmed from transactions made through Exergia Brasil, a company founded in 2009 by Lula’s nephew Taiguara Rodrigues dos Santos who is also facing a criminal lawsuit.

Prosecutorsa also accused Lula of receiving illicit payments for lectures he delivered at the request of Odebrecht.

These charges could keep Lula behind the bars for more than 30 years, they added.

Lula was considering another run for the presidency when his troubles with the law first surfaced in March, after police searched his home and put him into custody for questioning.

He has denied the accusations, saying prosecutors have been politically motivated to derail his comeback.

–IANS

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