Ex-Brazil President Lula sentenced to nearly 10 years for corruption
BRASILIA: Former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the main candidate in next year’s presidential election, was sentenced Wednesday to corruption charges and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.
The decision marked an impressive fall from Lula, one of the most popular politicians in the country, and a sharp blow to his chances of return policy. The former labor leader who was praised globally for policies to reduce persistent inequalities in Brazil, faces four more corruption trials and will remain free on appeal.
The verdict represents the most important sentence however, in a corruption investigation for more than three years, shook Brazil, revealing a large graft system for the next level of business and government.
Sergio Moro The judge considered Lula, 71, guilty of accepting 3.7 million reais (1.2 million dollars) in bribes from the engineering company OEA SA, in the amount of money lawyers that the company spent the renovation From a beach apartment to Lula in exchange for his help to win contracts with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.
Federal prosecutors have accused Lula, the first president of the Brazilian working class 2003-2011, to propose a long anti-corruption bill that was discovered in a Petrobras counter-rebound investigation.
Lula’s legal team said in an e-mailed statement that he was innocent and would appeal.
“For more than three years, Lula has had an investigation for political reasons,” they wrote. “No credible evidence of guilt has occurred, and overwhelming evidence of his innocence was ignored.”
Lula’s lawyer, Cristiano Martins, has repeatedly accused Judge Moro of bias against his client, which Moro firmly denies.
Moro wrote in his decision that “he had no personal satisfaction in this conviction, on the contrary.”
“It is unfortunate that a president can be criminally convicted,” Moro said. “No matter their size, no one is above the law.”
The Brazilian real has increased earnings after the decision and reached its highest level in two months. The benchmark Bovespa stock market hit a session high. Investors fear that another Lula would mean a return to more state-oriented and less business-friendly economic policy.
“Food leaves empty”
Lula would be barred from his position if his conviction is upheld by an appellate court, which will take at least eight months to decide.
If he can not run, political analysts say that he left Brazil would be thrown into disorder, forced to rebuild and find a leader capable of emerging from the long shadow that Lula launched into Brazilian politics for three decades.
“Lula’s absence opens an open hole in the political scene, creating a huge power vacuum on the left,” said Claudio Couto, a political scientist at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, one of the best universities.
“We came to a situation of extreme political tension, even beyond the chaos we experienced last year.”
Couto said he hoped Lula’s verdict of guilty was upheld by the appellate court. This would leave the presidential race open for 2018 and increase the chances of a victory by an independent politician, as the best-known competitors are also taken into account in corruption investigations in Brazil.
The two terms of Lula were marked by a merchant boom that momentarily made Brazil one of the most dynamic economies in the world. Its ambitious foreign policy, the alignment of Brazil with other large developing countries, has raised the profile of the country on the world stage.