Money charges follow Lula raid

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Right). Photo / AP
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Right). Photo / AP

Prosecutors in Sao Paulo state have filed money laundering charges against former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is accused of hiding his alleged ownership of a seafront penthouse in the city of Guaruja.

Lula has denied he owns the apartment, which belongs to constructor OAS. OAS is one of the biggest targets of a separate corruption investigation that focuses on state-run oil giant Petrobras.

The charges filed yesterday against Lula still need to be accepted by a judge.

In a statement, Lula said investigators "are not unbiased". He still has not been heard by the state investigators in the case.

The decision comes days before an anti-government protest on Monday, and five days after Lula was held for questioning and his home raided by the police.

Lula was briefly detained and questioned on Saturday over the seaside home in connection with the massive Petrobras corruption and bribery scandal.

Prosecutors said Lula was targeted as part of the Operation Car Wash investigation into a sprawling embezzlement and bribery conspiracy.

The corruption scandal, which has already seen a Who's Who of Brazilian politicians and businessmen face charges, is believed to be the biggest ever in Brazil.

Lula was not arrested, but held for questioning over alleged "favours" received from corrupt construction companies implicated in a kickback scheme, prosecutors said.

"There is evidence that former President Lula received assets arising from the Petrobras scheme through the allocation and renovation of a triplex apartment and a site in Atibaia," prosecutors said last week.

- AFP, AP

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