Federal Judge Sergio Moro has sentenced former President Lula da Silva to nine years and six months in jail. Lula was found guilty of corruption and money laundering. The judge convicted the 71-year-old former President of receiving a total of 3.7 million BRL in bribes, through a series of schemes with large Brazilian companies.
Moro considered that the former President got unlawful gifts from construction company OAS. In exchange, he helped the company to win contracts with the federal government during his administration. However, Moro said that Lula’s crimes were part of a vast corruption ring.
Three years into Operation Car Wash, Lula’s is the first conviction as a result of investigations. Lula can appeal the decision in liberty. If a Court of Appeals confirms the conviction, Lula will not be able to run for president in 2018.
In a statement, Judge Moro said, “Among the crimes of corruption and laundering, there is material competition, which is why the combined sentences amount to nine years and six months of imprisonment, which I consider to be definitive for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.”
The Operation Car Wash task force considers Lula the leader of the corruption ring. Investigators believe he was one of the principal actors in a complex series of systematic corrupt dealings between politicians and large corporations.
With the mechanisms for kickbacks from OAS, Petrobras and other state and private firms, the PT gained a significant financial advantage prior to its campaigns. Lula’s participation in such schemes means that Moro considers him guilty of passive corruption and money laundering.
According to the investigation, the former President is guilty of passive corruption on three occasions during his time in office. These took place between October 11, 2006 and January 23, 2012. The Judge also found the former president guilty of money laundering three times, between 2009 and 2017.