Former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on Friday pledged to fight allegations that he received bribes from firms implicated in the corruption scandal around state oil firm Petrobras.
The man known in his homeland as Lula spoke soon after being released by authorities after spending hours in custody being interrogated.
He claimed the arrest was persecution by those who resented him as a working-class hero who was a hugely popular president.
And he added that the police raid and detention were unnecessary as he was more than willing to talk with the investigators.
Lula, who left office in 2011, had been arrested in the early hours of the morning at his home near Sao Paulo.
The allegations against him pertain to alleged bribes of millions of dollars paid by engineering firms Odebrecht and OAS while Lula was president.
Odebrecht and OAS are connected to the Petrobras scandal for their roles in bribing and officials of the state oil firm to accept inflated contract bids. Politicians were bribed to look the other way.
Lula’s arrest, amid a series of raids on properties connected to him, was soon followed by protests and clashes between his supporters and detractors outside his Sao Paulo home.
His backers claimed the arrest was politically motivated by opponents of his ruling Workers Party. His critics said it was a long overdue arrest.