Brazilian Supreme Court Minister, Luiz Edson Fachin, unilaterally annulled all procedural acts in actions involving Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was convicted in two cases investigated by Operation Lava Jato in Curitiba, Brazil. These cases include a triplex apartment in Guarujá (SP) and a site in Atibaia (SP).
In addition to the two convictions give to Lula, the Worker´s Party (PT) to which Lula belongs, is also a defendant in another lawsuit that investigates alleged money laundering in donations to Instituto Lula.
But even after having two convictions and having served prison time was not enough for justice to be efficient in these cases. Today, Minister Luiz Edson Fachin, of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), annulled all procedural acts in actions involving Lula, claiming that the 13th Federal Court in Curitiba had no legal competence to judge the charges.
In case you don´t understand the meaning of such a decision, please bear with me. The former president of Brazil was investigated and convicted of crimes, he served jail time and was only let out of prison because powerful supporters alleged he could not stay locked up because of COVID. Today, an unelected militant of the Worker´s Party -Fachin- absolved Lula of all convictions and pending investigations. If that is not a banana republic, please provide a better example.
With the decision, the ex-president will no longer have restrictions in the Electoral Court and is eligible to run for public office. In Brazil, people are already preparing for the political death match between Lula and his archrival and current president Jair Bolsonaro.
The first action involves the case of the purchase and renovation of a triplex apartment in Guarujá, on the coast of São Paulo.
In July 2017, the Worker´s Party was convicted by former judge, Sergio Moro, who served in the 13th Federal Court of Justice in Curitiba, and was responsible for the processes of Operation Lava Jato. From that investigation, Lula was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison for crimes of passive corruption and money laundering.
With the measure, Lula was arrested in April 2018, after being accused of hiding the property on the São Paulo coast. According to the conclusions drawn in the case, was received as a bribe from the contractor OAS, in exchange for favoring the company y contracts with the oil giant Petrobras.
This was the first time in history that a Brazilian official had been convicted and detained for the commission of a common crime.
At the time, the Federal Public Ministry reported that the construction company OAS and the former president participated in a scheme for the purchase of apartment164-A at Condomínio Solaris, with a “spurious relationship” between them.
In addition, the property would have yielded almost $500,000 to Lula. The value would be the difference from what the Worker´s Party´s family had already paid for the apartment, added to renovations made to the property.
In April 2019, the Fifth Panel of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) confirmed the conviction of the former president, but reduced the sentence of the petista from 12 years and 1 month in prison to 8 years, 10 months and 20 days in prison.
The Atibaia Site
This case was tried in first degree in February 2019 by the substitute judge of Lava Jato, Gabriela Hardt. In the process, the former president was sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in prison for passive corruption and money laundering.
According to the decision, the former president received a bribe from the Schahin Group and the construction companies OAS and Odebrecht through the renovation of the property in Atibaia, which was already frequented by the family.
The magistrate also explained that the property was not in Lula’s name, but it was widely proven that the family of the former President was a regular visitor, as well as that he enjoyed it as if he owned it.
The property was in the name of Fernando Bittar, son of the former mayor of Campinas Jacó Bittar and partner of one of the sons of the former president, Fábio Luís.
Investigators found personal belongings of Lula and his family at the site, as well as a boat named after him and his late wife, Marisa Letícia.
At the time, Lava Jato’s task force said that Odebrecht paid about $22,000,000 in bribes in four contracts with Petrobras, while OAS disbursed $5 million in kickbacks related to three deals with the state-owned company.
In May 2020, the 8th Panel of the Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region (TRF-4) maintained Lula’s conviction, which had already been increased to 17 years and a month in prison.
The former president, however, denied that he owns the farm and claims that there is no evidence that he committed corruption and money laundering.
Donations to Instituto Lula
Lula was denounced by Operation Lava Jato task force after being accused by the Federal Public Ministry of money laundering with the construction company Odebrecht through donations to the Lula Institute.
The lawsuit, however, has been temporarily suspended by the TRF4 since December 2020. Lula had become a defendant last October.
According to the attorney general’s office, between December 2013 and March 2014, almost $700,000 were paid to the Lula Institute in a kind of “checking account” for bribes originating from works at Petrobras at the time of the Worker´s Party governments he led.
The task force also claims that the amounts were transferred in four different operations, each in the amount of $170,000.
Despite all this evidence and convictions, one judge or Supreme Court Minister alone decided to overturn what the Brazilian justice system had already dictated after years of exhaustive investigations. Worse than all, no one in Brazil is calling for an investigation of Fachin, -who is a well known supporter of the Worker´s Party- or demanding that Lula´s sentences be reinstated as it should be done as per Brazilian law.