15 September 2016
Prosecutors in Brazil have filed charges against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his wife and six others over a corruption scandal involving the national oil company Petrobras. He was on top of the power pyramid and appointed several senior executives at Petrobras so that he could have access to the funds which he distributed to oil executives, Workers’ Party leaders and lawmakers in the governing coalition in order to maintain the party’s grip on power.
Petrobras, incurred an estimated $12.6bn loss due to corruption, over-priced contracts, bribes and kick-backs. Over the past two years the authorities carried out investigation code named Operation Car Wash and several politicians and Petrobras executives have been arrested and sentenced.
He is alleged to have received a luxury apartment on the coast of Sao Paulo from one of the engineering and construction firms at the centre of the Petrobras bribery scandal. Lula denied ownership of the apartment. Prosecutors alleged that Lula and his wife benefited more than $700,000 from the builder OAS in the form of improvement of the beach front apartment.
Five OAS executives, including José Aldemário Pinheiro Filho, have been sentenced to 16 years of jail for their role in the scandal. Pinheiro Filho was the President of QAS. After his arrest he was succeeded by Elmar Varjão, who was also arrested for his involvenment in the Operation Car Was scandal.
The scandal brought down the Workers’ party from power last month by impeachment of his successor, Dilma Rousseff.
As a union leader he led massive strikes against Brazil’s military dictatorship, causing its downfall. In 2002, he became the nation’s first working-class president, after three failed attempts. He was popular with the country’s poor. His social policies lifted millions out of poverty. When he left office in 2010 he had an 83 percent approval rating and an economy that grew at an impressive 7.5 percent. Two years ago when the Petrobras investigations started public prosecutors began to put their attention on Lula. A criminal conviction will bar him from contesting presidential election for next eight years.

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