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BRASILIA, March 14 Former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told a packed court on Tuesday that he was innocent of attempting to obstruct Brazil's biggest anti-corruption investigation ever by allegedly bribing a former executive at state oil company Petrobras.
"The evidence is false," the 71-year-old former union leader told the federal court in Brasilia, denying any role in the alleged attempt to pay ex-Petrobras director Nestor Cervero not to become a state's witness.
Lula, a two-term president from 2003-2010, is one of the front-runners for Brazil's wide-open 2018 presidential election but faces five corruption trials that could bar him from competing. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Daniel Flynn)