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Judge Orders Corruption Trial for Brazil Ex-President Silva

Allegations center around Petrobras, the huge state-run oil company
By The News · 20 of September 2016 16:15:10
In this Aug. 29, 2016 file photo, ex-president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the political trial against former Brazil president Dilma Roussef in Brasilia, No available, photo: AP/Eraldo Peres

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian judge ruled Tuesday that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will stand trial on charges of money laundering and corruption.

Judge Sergio Moro said there is enough evidence to start a judicial process against Silva, his wife and six others in a widening corruption probe centered on the country’s huge state-run oil company, Petrobras.

Prosecutors have called Silva the “maximum commander” of the Petrobras graft scandal that has rocked Brazil. Prosecutors allege that billions of dollars in bribes were paid to win inflated contracts from the company.

The judge’s decision had been expected after prosecutors charged Silva last week.

In explaining his decision, Moro said Silva and others benefited from renovations at a beachfront apartment in the coastal city of Guaruja in Sao Paulo state. The improvements were made by the construction company OAS, which is one of those involved in the kickback scheme at Petrobras.

Moro said prosecutors believe the former president received $1.15 million in bribes from OAS for getting it contracts related to refineries.