Brazilian prosecutors seek Lula arrest

Mar 11, 2016, 3:13 AM EST
Former Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
(Source: Marco Teixeira/flickr)

Brazilian prosecutors have requested the arrest of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a money laundering inquiry.

The BBC reports:

Prosecutors in Sao Paulo state said Lula should be placed in "preventive custody". They earlier filed charges accusing him of failing to declare ownership of a luxury sea-front penthouse in the seaside resort of Guaruja. Lula denies any wrongdoing and says the claims are politically motivated. The prosecutors said they were seeking the arrest on charges of money laundering for concealing ownership of the apartment. They said the request was based on an assumption that Mr Lula might try to obstruct the investigation. The request still has to be accepted or rejected by a judge. Lead prosecutor Cassio Conserino said the state inquiry was looking specifically into the ownership of the apartment. Lula, 70, denies all accusations and says he never owned the flat. His lawyer Cristiano Zanin Martins said there was a "media campaign" against the former president. "The owner of a property is the person listed in the registry. It doesn't matter who some people think it belongs to," Mr Martins said. He added that Lula had invested in the project, had visited the unfinished apartment but later asked for his money back rather than receiving property.

The Guardian writes:

Brazilian prosecutors have requested that former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva be placed in custody in a move that pushes political temperatures closer to boiling point. The Workers’ party figurehead – who was deemed the world’s most popular politician when he left office in 2011 – is accused of money laundering and receiving illicit benefits from a construction company. He has denied all charges against him. Investigators raided his home and several properties linked to him and his family on Friday 4 March. At the time, police called him in for questioning, but released him after three hours. Now, however, prosecutors have asked that he be placed under “preventative detention” so that he cannot obstruct their inquiry into his case. The request has yet to be ruled on by a judge. If approved, it would be an arrest of historic proportions, equivalent to the US Federal Bureau of Investigations jailing George Bush or British police taking Tony Blair or Gordon Brown into custody.