Brazil’s anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro on Wednesday questioned former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was weakened by serious confessions made by one of his closest associates.
The judge sentenced Lula da Silva, 71, in July to about 10 years in a separate case. In total, he targets six issues of the former president and could eliminate his ambitions to return to power.
Former Finance Minister Antonio Baluchi revealed last week secrets that could be a severe blow to him. Baluchi was arrested in September 2016 and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Baluchi also listened to Judge Moro and stressed that Lula had established a “close alliance” between his Labor Party and the Odebrecht group of public works, which are at the heart of the corruption scandal, shaking Brazil.
The judge could use these new elements to reinforce the accusations against the former president (2003-2010) when he heard him on Wednesday.
Prosecutors say Adwebrecht apparently offered land to the Lula Institute in Sao Paulo and placed his family in another town in the neighboring city of Sao Bernardo do Campo for security facilities for the group to get contracts from the state oil company Petrobras. Baluchi said “the facts quoted were true, And this could fall the whole line of defense of the former president.
But Lula da Silva said on his Facebook page that “the story told by Antonio Baluchi contradicts all other testimonies and can only be understood in the context of the fact that he is a man imprisoned and convicted in other cases of Judge Sergio Moro.”
On May 10, in his first encounter with Judge Moro in Curitiba, southern Brazil, the president said he was the victim of a “hypocrisy” campaign and denied all charges.
At the end of July, the former mining worker was sentenced to nine years and a half in prison.
The judge convicted him of accepting a three-storey apartment in the Krishwa resort of the Odebrecht group. Pending the trial of the appeal, Lula remains free but may be barred from running for election in October 2018 if convicted on appeal and may be jailed.
Lula has yet to present his voting intentions in opinion polls but is rejected by much of Brazil’s public opinion.
His tour of poor areas in the northeast in recent weeks has not attracted crowds. The Northeast is one of the regions that has benefited most from the ambitious social policy of Ula da Silva, who during his 2003-2010 mandates has helped drive tens of millions of Brazilians out of misery. Lula’s tour lasted three weeks and included 28 cities.
The Labor Party announced a pro-left demonstration in Curitiba, but most observers expect a smaller mobilization than the one recorded when questioned for the first time when about 7,000 activists took part.
The party, still traumatized by the sudden dismissal of President Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016), may have to consider an alternative plan for the 2018 election, although any party member would dare to speak out in public.
When he left office in 2010, it was virtually impossible to charge Lula da Silva, whose popularity was 80 percent. Brazil was at the height of its economic boom