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Former Brazil leaders deny corruption claims

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-07 09:20

RIO DE JANEIRO - Two former Brazilian presidents on Tuesday denied allegations of corruption and embezzlement leveled against them as part of an investigation into a far-reaching bribery scandal.

Brazil's top prosecutor accused former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of leading a criminal organization, along with several of his political allies, in order to extract millions of dollars in bribes.

Attorney General Rodrigo Janot also named Silva's successor, Dilma Rousseff, and several members of their administrations or party in the charges filed with the Supreme Federal Tribunal.

Former Brazil leaders deny corruption claims

He accuses them of orchestrating the receipt of around $480 million in bribes from 2002 to 2016 through their control of state bodies.

"The Prosecution General's accusations are baseless and are a political action ... a campaign of persecution against former president Lula, moved by party-dominated sectors of the judicial system," Lula's press office said.

"It was announced today to try to create negativity on the day Lula concludes his victorious journey through the northeast."

Silva, who is more commonly known as Lula, is currently holding rallies in the northeastern states to gather support and highlight the achievements of the Workers' Party's government in the region.

Based on the testimony of Marcelo Odebrecht, head of construction company Odebrecht, the prosecution accused both former presidents of heading a scheme to favor the Workers' Party and embezzle money from oil giant Petrobras.

Rousseff also released a statement, accusing Odebrech of lying in his testimony and denied any participation in corruption schemes and bribe-taking.

"The information that Dilma Rousseff asked or ordered anyone to ask for any resources or favors from Marcelo Odebrecht or his company's executives is a lie," Rousseff's office said.

"That has never happened. The truth will come to light."

In addition to Lula and Rousseff, Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, current leader of the Workers' Party, was also accused in the same case.

Hoffmann denied all allegations, claiming the prosecution was trying to divert attention from a prominent case of corruption involving Geddel Vieira Lima, a former minister of the current administration, who was found in possession of several million reals in cash earlier on Tuesday.

Xinhua - Ap

(China Daily 09/07/2017 page11)

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