MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, May 23rd 2019 - 23:45 UTC

Lula was questioned for five hours and later called the corruption case “a farce”

Thursday, May 11th 2017 - 11:29 UTC
Full article 39 comments
The closed hearing put Lula face-to-face with Judge Sergio Moro, a hero to many Brazilians for his relentless pursuit of powerful figures in Petrobras graft probe The closed hearing put Lula face-to-face with Judge Sergio Moro, a hero to many Brazilians for his relentless pursuit of powerful figures in Petrobras graft probe

Brazil's former president Lula da Silva called the corruption trial threatening to end his storied career a “farce” during almost five hours of testimony on Wednesday. Lula is accused of receiving a seaside apartment as a kickback from the OAS construction company, and if found guilty could be barred from running for office and even jailed, destroying his hopes of coming back to power in the 2018 presidential elections.

 The closed hearing put Lula, 71, face-to-face with Judge Sergio Moro, a hero to many Brazilians for his relentless pursuit of senators, millionaires and other powerful figures in a graft probe called “Car Wash.”

Lula, whose 2003-2010 rule made him loved by the lower classes was defiant. “I consider this trial illegitimate and the accusation a farce,” he told Moro at the hearing in the southern city of Curitiba, video released afterward showed. He said prosecutors were accusing him “based on allegations in the press.”

As soon as he got out of court, Lula went to a campaign style rally with several thousand supporters who had bused into Curitiba earlier. “I thought after... there would at least be a document that the apartment was mine,” he told them. “I want to be judged on proof.”
Lula reiterated his plans to seek a third term next year. “I am preparing to return as a candidate,” he said. “I want to show that the elite is not competent to fix this country but that the steel worker... will manage.”

The Lula faithful, many clad in Workers' Party red, responded deliriously, cheering “Lula, warrior of the Brazilian people,” and letting off fireworks.

But a much smaller group of opponents also gathered, raising an inflatable caricature of Lula dressed in prison garb.

Brazil's media portrayed the court session as a showdown between two of the most powerful men in Brazil.

Moro, 44, has become a national figure for his role leading the “Car Wash” probe, which revealed massive kickbacks to politicians in return for inflated contracts with state oil company Petrobras, much of it during Lula's presidency.

In Wednesday's case, Lula is alleged to have taken a bribe from OAS -- one of the main Petrobras contractors -- in the form of a seaside apartment at a posh resort near Sao Paulo. But seated at a table with lawyers and prosecutors, Lula denied everything.

“I never asked for and I never received the apartment,” he said.

Prosecutors have previously painted Lula as a kingpin over the wider Petrobras corruption scheme.

However, in the video of the hearing Moro went out of his way to reassure Lula that he would “be treated with maximum respect, as any defendant, but also equally considering the office that he had held previously.” He also stressed that Lula did not face imminent arrest.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • :o))

    THAT reminds me of an old joke [Tempted to call Lula as an “Old Joke”- I confess!]:

    God was creating the world. An angel sees him creating Brazil and says:

    “My Lord, this is unfair. Look at this country you're creating.

    Tropical climate, no snow, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, no earthquakes or volcanoes, rich mineral deposits, biggest forest in the world, plenty of water, fertile soil and intelligent fun-loving people. They are going to be the most powerful nation on Earth”.

    God looks at him, laughs and says:

    “Wait until you see the kind of politicians I am going to put there...”

    May 11th, 2017 - 12:23 pm +1
  • Jack Bauer

    THill,
    ....”the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it” (quote by unknown), therefore, won’t waste any more of my time with your bs…

    May 13th, 2017 - 10:10 pm 0
  • :o))

    TH can actually read! Hearty Congratulations! :o))

    May 14th, 2017 - 12:48 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!