By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday, March 8th, lawyers for the relatives of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (known as “Lula” in Brazil) appealed the court against the searches and seizures made by police last week, during the 24th stage of Operação Lava Jato (Carwash), a mega money laundering investigation.
According to proponents, the federal police (PF) seized personal property of Lula’s family members, such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets, which were not included in search warrants issued by federal Judge Sérgio Moro.
In addition to searching the home of relatives, the defense questioned the action of PF in the Lula Institute and the headquarters of the companies Touchdown Promoção de Eventos Esportivos and LFT Marketing Esportivo, owned by Lula’s son.
In the petition, lawyers say the companies were not covered by the warrants. In the case of Lula Institute, the lawyers argue that the agents have changed the administrator password of the computers and employees can not work because they lack access to the new password.
Operação Aletheia was launched on Friday (March 4th) and in addition bringing the former president Lula into federal police custody for questioning, Judge Moro authorized the search and seizure in homes and businesses of the three sons of former president, Fabio Luis Lula da Silva, Sandro Luis Lula da Silva and Marcos Claudio Lula da Silva, among others.
Ex-president Lula has denied any participation in illegal activities. “I have never participated, directly or indirectly in any illegal [activity] be it in the Lava Jato Operation or any other [scandal], before, during or after my administration,” the former leader said in a note published by the Lula Institute.
Yesterday current President Dilma Rousseff met with her mentor and predecessor Lula at the Palácio da Alvorada, the official residence of the Presidency. The two meet for just over an hour with chief minister of the Civil House, Jaques Wagner, Minister of the Secretariat of Government, Ricardo Berzoini, and the governor of Minas Gerais, Fernando Pimentel. Rousseff had already met with Lula on Saturday (March 5th) in Sao Bernardo do Campo to show solidarity with him, this time, however, the talks were more political according to government sources.
Operação Aletheia is part of the Operação Lava Jato investigation into state-controlled oil giant, Petrobras, started by the Federal Police in March of 2014 that has implicated people from across the political and business spectrum: from Former President Lula to former Chief of Staff Jose Dirceu and current Chamber of Deputies President, Eduardo Cunha, as well as top Petrobras directors. The investigations have led to hundreds of arrests and unveiled millions of dollars worth of bribes given to Petrobras directors for oil contracts with the oil giant.