Prosecutors request Prison for Lula while Investigation is conducted
They express their fear that the president mobilizes its “violent support network” to hinder the process against him.
The Prosecutor of São Paulo has requested preventive detention for the country’s former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The former president and member of the Workers Party (PT), was denounced by the same body on Wednesday for money laundering and concealment of assets.
Now, prosecutors say there is a risk that Lula may attempt to flee the country and of obstructing the investigations.
The petition in prison for Lula, was fully disclosed by the legal website known as Jota.
The request for imprisonment argues that it would be very easy for Lula to flee the country and argues that keeping him in prison would ensure “public order, instruction and implementation process of the law.”
Prosecutors expressed their fear that the president mobilizes its “violent support network” to obstruct the proceedings against him who would also threatening victims and witnesses.
The indictment also attacks the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, as it estimates that she “shields Lula, and encourages a precedent where a citizen is above the law.”
For days, rumors have been heard in Brasilia about the possibility that Rousseff would offer his political godfather a position in the government to make him immune to the charges being leveraged against him. This decision would not be a shock for anyone who knows about the Worker’s Party corrupt structure.
If Rousseff actually named assigned Lula a position, he could only be tried by the Supreme Federal Court and not by the office of the prosecutor in Sao Paulo. Undoubtedly, a move like that by Rousseff would be seen as a direct confession by Lula and a sign of weakness by the current Brazilian president.
The national president of the PT, Rui Falcão, called Thursday request for Lula’s imprisonment as a “media campaign”. “It goes in line with what this prosecutor and his companions have done by denouncing Lula without proof,” he said.
“The prosecutor who anticipated his decision to denounce Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva before listening to him gave more evidence of bias to apply preventive detention”, reacted the Lula Institute, a mission headed by the former head of state for whom Lula operates as its spokesman.
The statement stresses that there are documents that prove that Lula is not the owner of the apartment. “Despite that, he requested an injunction against the president in another sad attempt to use his position for political purposes,” he says.
The judge must now decide whether to accept or reject the request. There is no deadline to respond. If convicted, the former president could spend up to 13 years in prison.
Prosecutors also asked for the imprisonment of Léo Pinheiro, president of the OAS construction company, who is being investigated in for irregularities related to the Petrobras scandal, as well as the former Treasurer of the Worker’s Party, João Vaccari Neto, arrested in the anti-corruption operation known as Lava Jato.
The Prosecutor of São Paulo, the same who is now asking for preventing prison, denounced Lula da Silva for money laundering and concealment of assets, less than a week after he was questioned in another parallel investigation for alleged corruption in the state oil company Petrobras.
According to the indictment, Lula and his wife Marisa Leticia da Silva, hid ownership of a luxury apartment in Guaruja, Sao Paulo. The property is in the name of the OAS construction company, and Lula has always denied it was his.
The vast investigation of the case Petrobras corruption scandal also mentions the apartment as proof that Lula received illegal profits from construction companies.
But the prosecutor from Sao Paulo is not the only party that has called Lula’s participation in the corruption scandal as grave. As part of the Lava Jato investigation, police searched Lula’s home last Friday.
After questioning him about his alleged enrichment and diversion of money during his presidency, the Office issued a harsh statement accusing him of being “one of the main beneficiaries” of the corruption of the Brazilian State.
With these scandals hitting the Brazilian government, Dilma Rousseff is increasingly fragile and isolated, and there is still a major challenge ahead: new protests against the President have been called for Sunday, while Lula’s supporters have also called for marches to defend their hero.