Good news for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the polarizing former president of Brazil. According to a report by KPMG Independent Auditors, there’s no evidence that he took part in the widespread corruption scheme that plagues Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil and gas company.
Back in March, Federal Judge Sérgio Moro, who oversees Operation Car Wash, solicited an audit by the Dutch company. Moro wanted KPMG to look for evidence linking Lula to any illicit activity.
Federal prosecutors accuse Lula of being at the helm of a sophisticated criminal ring that siphoned away more than $2 billion from Petrobras. According to the prosecution, the parties that formed Lula’s coalition received between 2 and 3 percent of the contracts between the state-run company and corrupt construction firms.
KPMG informed Moro that its auditors did not find any evidence of Lula’s actions in such crimes. The audit scrutinized the period ranging between December 31, 2006, and December 31, 2011. KPMG, one of the biggest audit firms in the world, highlighted that the report was based upon tests and procedures of professional auditing.
A defendant in six criminal cases, Lula has always denied any wrongdoing. He has called Moro a “Jacobin” and accused Operation Car Wash of being little more than a “political witch hunt.”
Understand the cases against Lula
Beachfront triplex apartment
What the prosecution says: Lula received a beachfront apartment from a construction company. It was a “thank you” gift for contracts with the federal administration that the firm secured under Lula’s presidency. While the flat is not in Lula’s name, he is the actual owner of the property. In this case, Lula faces accusations of money laundering and corruption. The prosecution has used the politician and his wife’s visits to the flat as proof of their ownership.
What the defense says: The former president admits he was financing an apartment in the same building of the triplex flat. However, he claims that he and his wife gave up on the deal. The couple only visited the flat as possible buyers, but didn’t reach an agreement.
What the prosecution says: OAS, a construction company, paid more than 1.3 million Brazilian Reals to store gifts that Lula received during his time as President. That would be a kickback for deals that the firm illegally earned during his government.
What the defense says: The items are not Lula’s personal property, but part of his presidential collection. According to the president of the Lula Institute, OAS voluntarily offered to store the items.
What the prosecution says: The two previous cases gave origin to a third one. Prosecutors say that those services were bribes from OAS.
What the defense says: The former President has not committed any wrongdoing. According to the politician’s lawyers, the prosecution has conducted a political witch hunt but has failed to produce damaging evidence against Brazil’s most popular leader.
Petrobras corruption scandal
What the prosecution says: As president, Lula used his political influence to keep in check Petrobras executives with previous convictions for conducting a corruption scheme within the company.
What the defense says: The executives were appointed after being vouched for by political allies. Of course, Lula had no responsibility for their actions.
What the prosecution says: Lula authorized overpriced contracts between Petrobras and OAS to the detriment of the state-owned company’s interests. In one case, a contract was worth 50 percent more than Petrobras’ estimates.
What the defense says: The former president did not favor any Petrobras supplier, and there’s no evidence supporting the accusations. In fact, Lula says that the corrupt Petrobras officials acted independently.