Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Office has accepted corruption charges against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Last week, the Federal Police charged the politician for allegedly committing crimes of criminal conspiracy, money laundering, influence peddling, and corruption. Lula is suspected of having used his position as president to lobby for Odebrecht – Brazil’s largest construction company – in exchange for a $9-million kickback.
According to a statement released by federal prosecutors, “the criminal activities took place between 2008 and 2015 and involved Lula’s actions before Brazil’s National Development Bank – among other institutions – to secure a credit line [at low interest rates] so that Odebrecht could carry out projects in Angola.”
The list of indicted individuals includes one of Lula’s nephews, Taiguara Rodrigues – who will also be prosecuted. According to the police, the kickbacks were paid through a company belonging to Rodrigues. The Brazilian magazine Época reported that the Feds have analyzed the nephew’s text messages. At one point, Rodrigues declares that the then-President had given him carte blanche to operate on his behalf.
The prosecutors believe that the nature of Lula’s crimes changed through the years. At first, the former President allegedly committed the crime of corruption; after the end of his term, however, he would have used his influence to continue benefiting Odebrecht.
In addition to Lula and his nephew, nine other people will be prosecuted, including Marcelo Odebrecht, the company’s former CEO. He is in jail since June 2015 and has already been convicted to 19 years in prison for corruption, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy.