Former Brazilian presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) and Dilma Rousseff attend the funeral of former foreign policy advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Two former Brazilian presidents have been formally charged with obtaining illegal money in a large-scale probe into the affairs of Brazil’s state oil company, Petrobras.
Brazil’s Attorney General Rodrigo Janot pressed formal charges against former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday.
The two former president and a number of other members of their administrations or political party faced formal fraud charges filed with the Supreme Federal Tribunal alleging that they orchestrated the receipt of nearly $480 million in bribes from 2002 to 2016 through their control over state institutions.
Lula da Silva aims to return to the political scene but both he and Rousseff have been politically debilitated in the past as a result of similar scandals, convictions, and — in Rousseff’s case — an impeachment.
According to the new charges, Lula da Silva maintained authority in state affairs and engaged in the fleecing of money even after he was replaced by Rousseff due to his influence over her.
Following Rousseff’s ouster from office and the rise of current President Michel Temer to power, the attorney general added, members of his party in Congress then took over the leadership role in the corruption scheme.
Current Brazilian President Michel Temer
The indictment said that members of two other Brazilian parties — Temer’s Brazilian Democratic Movement Party and the Progressive Party — had been involved in the criminal activities, too.
The dates mentioned in the legal indictment roughly coincide with Silva’s and Rousseff’s tenures as presidents. Silva was elected in 2002 and Rousseff succeeded him after his second term.
She was impeached and forced out of office on charges of illegally managing the federal budget in 2016.The charges are part of a massive corruption probe into whether the politicians in question inflated state contracts in order to skim funds from Petrobras.
The investigation has so far led to the indictment of dozens of executives and senior politicians. Subsequently, the justice handling the probe will decide whether to accept the indictment.
Silva is already facing several corruption charges and has been sentenced to 9½ years in prison in one case. He and Rousseff have both said that the allegations against them are politically motivated.

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