By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian federal judge, Sergio Moro, has accepted the prosecutor’s charges against former President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, for corruption. Lula, along with his wife Marisa Leticia da Silva, will stand trial for accepting bribes totaling millions of reais as well as money laundering. The former leader said he was ‘sad’ with the indictment but believed the justice system would prove his innocence.
“I’m obviously sad because I know that Judge Moro has accepted the complaint against me, even if the complaint is a farce, a big lie being told, a great pyrotechnic show in this country,” said the former president during a press conference in São Paulo on Tuesday (September 20th).
Lula told journalists, however, that he believes that justice would prevail and that he would be found “not guilty” of all charges against him. Stating that there was no evidence linking him to wrongdoing, Lula promises to continue his battle.
“We will continue fighting so that Brazil (re)conquers its democracy and the Brazilian people, again, can be proud to be Brazilian because we are Brazilians and never give up,” he said.
Lula was charged last week by prosecutors of heading an ample network of corruption and money-laundering schemes. Prosecutors allege the former President purchased and decorated a beachfront penthouse apartment in the town of Guaruja and renovated a house in the interior of São Paulo with ‘advantages’ he received from large construction and engineering firms.
These ‘advantages’ are seen as bribes from these companies in exchange for advantages in public contracts, including those with state-owned oil giant Petrobras.
In addition to Lula and his wife, six other people were indicted on Tuesday, including the president of the Lula Institute, Paulo Okamotto, and OAS engineering firm President Leo Pinheiro.