Brazil's Ex-Leader, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Is Held for Questioning

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Brazilian police officers raided the home of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president who is under investigation in the colossal graft scheme involving the national oil company Petrobras, on Friday morning.

Brazil's Ex-Leader, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Is Held for Questioning

Officers from the Federal Police swarmed Mr. da Silva’s home in São Paulo, according to reports on television. He was taken to a police station at Congonhas Airport for questioning. Although he was in custody, he has not been arrested or charged.

Mr. da Silva, 70, has been facing an array of legal challenges related largely to his close ties to giant construction companies that profited from lucrative government contracts.

Prosecutors are examining whether OAS and Odebrecht — two construction companies that profited enormously from government contracts during Mr. da Silva’s government and that of his successor, Dilma Rousseff — may have benefited from renovating properties intended to be used by the former president and his family, including a country estate and a beachfront apartment.

The former chief executive of OAS has been sentenced in connection with a bribery plot involving Petrobras, and the Odebrecht chief has been charged and jailed pending trial.

Universally known as Lula, Mr. da Silva, who served from 2003 through 2010, remains the most towering figure in the governing left-wing Workers’ Party. He continues to exert considerable sway in the capital, Brasília, ranking among Brazil’s most powerful figures.

The growing scrutiny of Mr. da Silva has brought angry rebukes from him and his supporters. A news report on Thursday claimed that Delcídio do Amaral, a senator in the Workers’ Party, was negotiating a plea deal in which he would testify that Mr. da Silva had arranged for illegal payments to Marcos Valério de Souza, a businessman convicted of operating a vote-buying scheme during Mr. da Silva’s time in office.

“Lula never participated, directly or indirectly, in any illegal act during or after his government,” a spokesman for the former president’s institute said in a statement on Thursday.

Fuente: www.nytimes.com
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