Brazil’s former national President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been admitted to jail in Curitiba, southern Brazil, pending an appeal of his conviction for charges of corruption in connection to the Petrobras probe.
Lula, who served two terms (2003-2011) in the highest office in the land, is a charismatic socialist whose appeal is still strong.
He was convicted last July of receiving free refurbishments worth $1.2 million to a beachfront apartment in return for helping engineering firm OAS get contracts with state oil firm Petrobras, which has huge offshore oil assets.
It was just one strand in a huge web of graft surrounding Petrobras, the oil company’s executives taking bribes from other firms in return for over-inflated contracts.
A host of politicians have also been compromised and many jailed for their parts in greasing the deals or turning blind eyes. Lula is the highest-profile of those.
The scandal has been gradually coming to light since a federal police investigation called Operation Car Wash began in March 2014, bringing shame and massive financial damage to Petrobras and the whole Brazilian economy.
Lula’s appeal of his 12-year sentence is continuing and his Workers Party is still running him as their candidate in October’s presidential election.