Brazil ex-president Lula investigated for corruptionBy Bobricky 08:31 Fri, 17 Jul 2015 Comments
Federal prosecutors in Brazil have opened a formal inquiry into possible â€œinfluence peddlingâ€ by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The investigation will look into whether Lula improperly used his connections overseas to benefit Latin Americaâ€™s largest engineering firm, Odebrecht.
In May, prosecutors in the capital Brasilia said they had opened a preliminary investigation into the matter, saying the former leader had frequently travelled abroad at Odebrechtâ€™s expense after leaving office, from 2011 until 2014.
The inquiry announced on Thurday puts the legacy of one of Brazilâ€™s most popular former leaders on the line at a time when some are calling for the impeachment of his chosen successor, President Dilma Rousseff, for alleged campaign finance irregularities.
A spokeswoman for Lulaâ€™s institute, the Instituto Lula, said the institute was surprised by the news, and thought the inquiry had been escalated too quickly, the Reuters news agency said. She added that Lulaâ€™s travels were completely legal.
In their preliminary inquiry, prosecutors cited media reports that Brazil-based Odebrecht had won contracts in countries including the Dominican Republic and Cuba after Lula met with their leaders, travelling at Odebrechtâ€™s expense.
Lula may have also improperly influenced Luciano Coutinho, president of the state-run development bank BNDES, when it approved loans for Odebrecht projects abroad, prosecutors said.
Please LOGIN or REGISTER To Gain Full Access To This Article