RIO DE JANEIRO Dec 19 Former Brazilian leader
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will face a fifth corruption trial, a
judge ruled on Monday, as charges pile up against the man seen
as a front-runner to win the 2018 presidential election.
Judge Sergio Moro, who has overseen the bulk of Brazil's
biggest graft probe into a long-standing kickback scheme at
state-run oil company Petrobras, ruled that Lula, his
wife Marisa and seven others will stand trial.
The latest case involves the acquisition of land that was to
be used for the Lula Institute, the 71-year-old leftist
politician's think tank, along with an apartment in a Sao Paulo
Prosecutors allege that Latin America's biggest construction
firm, Odebrecht, paid 12.9 million reais ($3.8 million) for the
land and the apartment as a bribe to Lula in exchange for public
In an email, the ex-president's lawyers said Lula was
innocent of the charges.
Lula is already facing a separate corruption trial before
Moro, who is expected to issue a verdict in late January or
early February. If convicted, Lula could face more than 15 years
No dates have been set for the start of the other trials.
Lula is the biggest figure to be caught up in Brazil's
anti-corruption push, which began with the so-called "Car Wash"
probe into Petrobras nearly three years ago.
The unprecedented investigation has led to charges against
200 people and 81 convictions. The charges involve at least 6.4
billion reais in bribes.
Lula's former finance minister, Antonio Palocci, was also
charged in the latest case, along with Marcelo Odebrecht, the
former chief executive of Odebrecht.
The former CEO has turned state's witness along with nearly
80 other executives from the firm. Their statements are expected
to implicate more than 200 politicians.
($1 = 3.37 reais)
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by