Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva to stand trial

  • 30/07/2016
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (AAP)
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (AAP)

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the former chief executive of investment bank Grupo BTG Pactual SA will stand trial for obstruction of justice, documents from a federal court in Brasilia show.

Lula was previously under investigation in various jurisdictions in a sprawling corruption investigation focused on state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA - but is now officially a defendant.

Widely recognised as the most important figure in Brazil's recent political history, Lula has been accused of attempting to buy the silence of Petrobas international director Nestor Cerveró.

He is alleged to have colluded with a number of business people and politicians in an effort to keep the company's offences under wraps, with Brazil's largest engineering companies are accused of overcharging Petrobras for work and passing on kickbacks to executives and politicians.

They are also being investigated for graft on venues for the 2014 World Cup and upcoming Olympics, events awarded to Brazil under Lula.

A statement from the Lula Institute - a non-profit organisation with an aim to combat hunger and poverty founded in the ex-president's name - has denied the allegations.

"Lula has made it clear in a statement to the attorney general that he never interfered or attempted to interfere with testimony related to Lava Jato," it read.

"Despite the false charges that he has suffered, nothing has ever been shown to be wrong with Lula's life because he has always acted within the law - before, during and after having been president of Brazil."

Lula has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, though prosecutors say the multibillion-dollar graft scheme originated during his 2003-2011 presidency and continued during the presidency of his chosen successor, suspended President Dilma Rousseff.

On Thursday, Lula's lawyers petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the grounds his rights had been violated in a separate corruption investigation under a different judge spearheading the Operation Car Wash corruption investigation from the southern city of Curitiba.

The UN Human Rights Office confirmed the petition had been received and would be examined to see if it meets the criteria for registration. The process could take at least two years.

The 70-year-old was Brazilian president from 2003 to 2011, and is one of the founding members of the country's Worker's Party.

Newshub. / Reuters / AAP