Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was indicted on Friday in connection with the country's Lava Jato corruption investigation. 

The decision to indict was accepted by Brasília judge Ricardo Augusto Soares Leite.

According to local media, Lula, former senator Delcídio Amaral,former CEO of investment bank BTG Pactual André Esteves, and four others have been accused by prosecutors of attempting to obstruct the federal police probe, which has been looking into corruption linked to state-run oil giant Petrobras.

Attorney general Rodrigo Janot alleges that the suspects participated in a plot to silence former Petrobras president Nestor Ceveró with a payment of 250,000 reais (US$77,240). Ceveró has agreed to testify in exchange for a plea deal.

Lula's spokesperson issued a statement saying the charges were flimsy. "The defense argues that the charges are based solely on [evidence from] a plea bargain" with Delcidio, the statement said.

This is the first time Lula has been named as a defendant in a criminal case. He is also being investigated on suspicion of corruption, money laundering and embezzlement in a separate case in the city of Curitiba.

If found guilty, apart from any other sanction the former president's name would be added to the list known as Ficha Limpa (clean slate), which makes politicians ineligible for office for eight years.


Source: BNamericas