HAVANA TIMES – The once highly popular Workers Party leader and two-term Brazilian president, Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison on Wednesday for his role in the massive corruption scandals that have rocked the entire political class of the South American giant.
According to Reuters, Lula will remain free on appeal but was dealt a serious blow to his making a new presidential run next year.
The judge in the case, Sergio Moro, found Lula guilty of taking the equivalent of US $1.2 million in bribes from an engineering firm in return for his help in winning contracts with the Petrobras state oil company. The prosecutors said the money was spent by the company in refurbishing a beach apartment for Lula.
The former president (2003-2010), who at one point had an 83% approval rating, is also being accused of being the mastermind of a long term corruption scheme uncovered in a probe of kickbacks around Petrobras, noted Reuters.
Lula has repeatedly said he is the victim of a partisan witch hunt for political reasons. The judge denies the accusation.