By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Central Bank in Brazil carried out an order issued by federal judge Sergio Moro and froze of more than R$606,000 in assets from accounts belonging to former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Wednesday (July 19th).
“The freezing of assets of the former president [was] to recover the proceeds of crime and the arrest of the same assets to guarantee reparation of the damage,” stated Moro in the document to the courts.
Last week, the former president was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison for passive corruption and money laundering related to renovations made in a penthouse apartment in the São Paulo beachfront.
In addition to the freezing of bank accounts and the confiscation of the penthouse, officials were also ordered to seize two vehicles and Lula’s participation in four other apartments in São Paulo state.
Judge Moro decreed that the Central Bank block Lula’s accounts and assets up to the limit of R$10 million, justifying the measure by stating that the confiscation of the real estate and vehicles alone would not cover the value of the damages caused by the former president’s criminal activity.
The court decision according to Lula’s lawyers was ‘illegal’ and ‘abusive’ and will undermine the livelihood of Lula and his family.
In a note, the former president’s Worker’s Party (PT) considered Moro’s decision ‘stingy’ and an act of ‘revenge’ on an innocent man.
“After convicting former president Lula without evidence, to propagate lies and contradict his own sentence, Judge Sérgio Moro has now decided to avenge himself on an innocent man,” stated the PT in a press release.
“By blocking Lula’s assets, Moro has decreed a penalty of economic asphyxia that deprives the ex-president of his house, means of survival and even (ability) to defend himself from false accusations,” it read.