22 March 2018

Convicted Lula declares he will run for presidency again

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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was defiant following his conviction on corruption and money-laundering charges, announcing Thursday that he would run again for president next year.

The popular ex-president declared his intentions while meeting with supporters in Sao Paolo a day after a federal judge sentenced him to nearly 10 years in prison while allowing him to remain free on appeal.

‘’I am still in the game," he said at the headquarters of the Workers Party (PT), which he cofounded.

The 71-year-old leftist politician said the court has no proof and the sentence was an attempt to prevent him from being a candidate in the October 2018 elections.

“If anyone has proof against me, please tell me. Send it to Justice. Send it to the Supreme Court. Send it to the press. We will appeal in all instances of all arbitrariness,” he said.

Lula asked supporters if they would accept him as the PT’s presidential candidate. The crowd responded by shouting, “Lula for president!”.

Lula’s lawyer, Cristiano Zanin, was stood alongside his client, said his team was still “analyzing the sentence’’ and would soon appeal it.

“We have already found omissions and contradictions in the verdict which, in theory, allow even an appeal addressed to the federal judge, Sergio Moro”, Zanin said.

Lula’s conviction is the most important development of a wide-ranging multibillion-dollar corruption probe known as Operation Carwash that shed light on a scandal involving some of the most important figures in Brazilian business and politics.

Prosecutors allege Lula and his allies overpriced contracts to engineering businesses and state-owned energy giant Petrobras in return for illegal party funding and bribes.

Lula and his wife are also alleged to have received a luxury apartment in exchange for public contracts from OAS, a privately-owned Brazilian multinational conglomerate, and Petrobras.

“No apartment was given. I have never owned an apartment,” said Lula.

Lula was arrested in March 2016 at his home and released after three hours of questioning. He was charged six months later with corruption and money-laundering.

2017.07.14 / 12:44
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