Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil ex-minister accuses Lula of receiving bribes

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lula is facing five different corruption trials

A former Brazilian minister has alleged there was a "blood pact" between former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and construction giant Odebrecht.

Antonio Palocci, once considered Lula's right-hand man, accused the ex-president of receiving a building for his institute and an apartment.

He made the testimony to a federal judge investigating corruption at state oil company Petrobras.

Lula's lawyers said Palocci was lying to reduce his jail sentence.

The testimony adds to allegations the former president is fighting. He intends to run for president again next year and is currently the front-runner in the polls.

According to Palocci, Lula had a "blood pact" with Odebrecht that the company would pay $96m (£73m) to his party in exchange for commercial contracts and benefits.

The agreement allegedly included the construction of a building for Lula's institute and an apartment for commercial use.

Palocci was finance minister under Lula and served as chief-of-staff to Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison last year after prosecutors said he had acted as an intermediary for corrupt government officials in business with Petrobras.

Lula's lawyers said that Palocci's accusations against Lula were false and that he was trying to reduce his jail sentence.

In a separate development, prosecutors filed further charges against Lula and Dilma Rousseff related to the long-running investigation into Petrobras - known as Operation Car Wash - accusing them of obstructing justice.

On Tuesday the country's top prosecutor Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot accused them of forming a criminal organisation to divert funds from Petrobras.

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