Federal prosecutors opened an investigation into the life of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for increasing lobby powers for a Brazilian construction giant. Officials are trying to determine if the popular president had used his influence to help convince international leaders to award contracts to Odebrecht SA and the financing from BNDES, Brazil’s development bank.
Lula’s acts are considered criminal influences as influence peddling is punishable up to five years imprisonment. Lula, who used his influence post-presidency in 2011 to 2014, involved Odebrecth winning numerous big infrastructure deals for nations including Ghana, Angola, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
Lula da Silva denied all allegations by local newspaper Epoca, which highlighted the case. Instituto Lula, da Silva’s private foundation, intends to prove that Lula da Silva is innocent from all allegations.
Odebrecht had also denied any wrongdoing and said that it only has an institutional relationship with the ex-president.
It is the first time da Silva’s name had been involved in a criminal investigation. The Workers’ Party, which is the ruling party of Brazil, is further shaken after probes earlier and continue to investigate a corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company Patróleo Brasilieiro SA, which is known as Petrobas.
In light of the scandals, many opposition politicians had called for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, da Silva’s political protégé.