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Ex-Brazil President Luiz Lula facing charges over alleged $22M bribes

By Andrew V. Pestano
Ex-Brazil President Luiz Lula facing charges over alleged $22M bribes
Former president of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, seen here in late August within Brazil's Federal Senate chambers, is facing additional corruption and money laundering charges for allegedly receiving about $22 million in bribes related to the Petrobras scandal. Lula faces two other separate corruption charges; one for corruption and money laundering related to an apartment and a construction contract in Angola, and another for obstruction of justice. File Photo courtesy of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

BRASILIA, Brazil, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, is facing additional corruption and money laundering charges for allegedly receiving about $22 million in bribes related to the Petrobras scandal.

Brazil's Federal Public Prosecutor on Thursday said the Odebrecht conglomerate, founded by Norberto Odebrecht who died in 2014, paid Lula about $22 million in bribes to secure eight contracts through Petrobras, a semi-public oil and gas company. Lula also allegedly received land worth nearly $4 million linked to the Lula Institute.

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Lula is "accused of practicing crimes of passive corruption and money laundering. This time due to contracts signed between Petrobras and Norberto Odebrecht," the Federal Public Prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday.

Lula is accused of being the head of a "sophisticated illicit structure" that turned Petrobras into a harbinger of corruption. Directors appointed to head Petrobras laundered money that was used for the "illicit enrichment of the former president, political agents ... as well as for electoral campaigns driven by criminal money."

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Lula faces two other separate corruption charges; one for corruption and money laundering related to an apartment and a contract in Angola, and another for obstruction of justice. A ruling in one is expected early next year.

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Lula was former President Dilma Rousseff's political mentor, handpicking her as his successor. She was removed from the presidency through impeachment on Aug. 31. Lula previously declared his intention to run for president in 2018.

Brazilian investigators said the Petrobras corruption scandal led to $12.6 billion in losses and helped lead Brazil into a recession.

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