Brazil prosecutors say Lula was 'general' of vast graft scheme


SAO PAULO (AP) - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday blasted prosecutors who have accused him of masterminding a mammoth kickback scheme, saying they are politically motivated and simply want to keep him from running for office in 2018.

For the lawyers of ex Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the unfounded legal accusation presented the eve by prosecutors of the anti-corruption operation of Lava Jato is no more than an illusionist trick.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in Brazil indicted the couple for alleged implication in graft schemes and the embezzlement of more than $2 billion from the country's giant state-run oil company, Petrobras.

Despite everything, Lula had retained some of his former popularity and had been expected to be a leading candidate in the presidential election in 2018.

According to the prosecutor, without Lula, the corruption ring would have been impossible.

A possible trial of the former president could prove problematic for newly-confirmed President Michel Temer, who continues to face street protests questioning the legitimacy of his mandate. "There is evidence that PT party leaders enriched themselves with money embezzled from Petrobras", said Dallagnol.

Many prosecutors and investigators say they can not imagine such a powerful figure was unaware of the institutionalised corruption and political kickbacks taking place at Petrobras and other state-run companies.

Prosecutors said in the indictment that after assuming power in 2003, Lula chose to create a structure to buy political support and created a "cushion" of illegal funds to fuel future campaigns for his Workers' Party. Six other people have also been charged alongside Lula and his wife.

The founder of the left-wing Worker's Party, Lula served two terms as president from 2003 to 2010 and remains Brazil's most popular politician.

The judicial campaign is hugely popular among Brazilians fed up with runaway corruption.

He was hailed internationally for social welfare policies that helped fight centuries of deep-rooted inequality in Brazil.

He also was key in winning hosting rights to the 2014 World Cup and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which finished on August 21 - South America's first.

The Workers' Party, which dominated Brazilian politics for 13 years, is now in peril.

Previously, Lula was charged with attempting to obstruct investigation in the same case.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Lady Gaga Reveals 'Joanne' Album Cover Artwork
Sep 16, 2016 - 08:32
Her third album Artpop , released in 2013, topped the USA charts and included the successful single "Applause". Gaga has been on the promotional trail for her new record, catching up with fans outside the BBC in London.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Boy, 13, armed with pellet gun shot dead by police
Sep 16, 2016 - 08:32
The officers followed them to an alley when police say a suspect pulled a gun from his waistband, and an officer shot him. She said the officer's future with the department beyond the period of leave depends on the investigation.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Japan boosts South China Sea patrols with US
Sep 16, 2016 - 08:31
Inada also welcomed the US's plan to allocate 60 percent of its Navy and Air Force assets to the Asia Pacific region by 2020. The relocation of the base is a key part of a broader Japan-U.S. agreement to realign U.S. military forces in Japan.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top IOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10 officially go live
Sep 15, 2016 - 12:20
While iOS 10 was being rolled out to the world, early installers of the update had to face a serious problem in their devices. Samsung will ship the units of Samsung Gear S3 later this year, while Apple will release the Apple Watch 2 in September.

Djokovic downs Monfils to reach US Open final
Sep 15, 2016 - 12:20
Wawrinka, who was in the US Open semis for the third time in four years, was delighted to finally make it to the final. Novak Djokovic will play Stanislas Wawrinka in the final of the US Open , after they both won their semifinals.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bangladesh factory explosion kills 29 people, officials say
Sep 15, 2016 - 12:16
In the Rana Plaza disaster, 1,135 mainly garment industry workers were killed when a building collapsed outside Dhaka . She said the factory had passed a fire safety and prevention audit run by a third-party inspection firm in late 2012.

Ryan Lochte's 10-month ban official; teammates out through end of 2016
Sep 15, 2016 - 12:16
Not permitted to join Team USA for its White House visit in connection with the Rio 2016 Games. 5. The US Olympic Committee ( USOC ) and USA Swimming announced the penalties on Thursday.

Storm Julia threatens flooding in coastal SC
Sep 15, 2016 - 12:15
A flash flood watch is in effect for most of southeast SC and coastal sections of southeast Georgia through this evening. Hurricane-force winds extend 25 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extend 90 miles from the center.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Hungary should be excluded from EU, Luxembourg FM says
Sep 14, 2016 - 00:44
Just days before leaders meet to discuss the future of the bloc, he stressed migrants are treated " nearly as bad as animals ". He also denounced Budapest's decision to erect a border fence which is getting "longer, higher and more dangerous".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Elon Musk Takes to Twitter in Hunt for SpaceX Explosion Clues
Sep 14, 2016 - 00:42
CEO Elon Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Motors, called the explosion the most hard failure in the company's 14-year history. That pad will need extensive repairs and probably won't be ready to support launches by November.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top European football split as UEFA elects new president
Sep 14, 2016 - 00:42
"(I told him) that solidarity is the most important thing that counts in UEFA and that Super League (will be formed) over my dead body".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Why Horizon Pharma Is Not Overpaying for Raptor Pharma
Sep 14, 2016 - 00:40
Horizon Pharma plc , formerly Vidara Therapeutics International Public Limited Company, is a biopharmaceutical company. From trading at over $15 per share at the peak of the biotech boom previous year Raptor fell precipitously.

Doctor: Clinton has pneumonia, recovering after 9/11 event
Sep 13, 2016 - 04:55
Hillary Clinton left the 9/11 remembrance ceremony early and appeared to faint on her way out, according to an unverified video . But this commotion feeds into accusations from the Donald Trump campaign that Clinton's health makes her unfit to be president.

Trump Foundation donations came from other charities
Sep 13, 2016 - 04:55
In 2014, the police foundation rented space at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club for $276,463 - for an event honoring Trump's philanthropy. Melania Trump bid $10,000, and when no one else bid, she doubled the offer in a customary practice during auctions.

Trump Camp: Palestinians Seek 'Ethnic Cleansing' Of Jews
Sep 13, 2016 - 04:54
Russia's Interfax news agency reported the two sides agreed "in principle" to meet, but with no set date. He said, "Our region needs more tolerance, not less".