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São Paulo Prosecutors Request Lula's Preventive Detention in Apartment Case

03/11/2016 - 09h36

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FERNANDA MENA
MARIO CESAR CARVALHO
FLÁVIO FERREIRA
BELA MEGALE
FROM SÃO PAULO

MÁRCIO FALCÃO
FROM BRASÍLIA

Five days after being forced to make a statement to the Federal Police, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is subject to a warrant for his preventive custody issued by the São Paulo Public Prosecutor, in an investigation running parallel to Operation Lava Jato.

He is also required to provide access to his bank accounts and hand over his passport.

The warrant is based on the investigation of a triplex apartment in Guarujá, on the São Paulo coast, which was renovated for Lula's family by the construction firm OAS. Prosecutors allege that Lula did not spend a penny on the renovation.

Prosecutors Cassio Conserino, José Carlos Blat and Fernando Henrique Araújo argue that preventive custody is necessary because Lula might destroy evidence, evade the application of the law and pervert the course of justice using his political network.

Lula is accused of money laundering and criminal misrepresentation, which carry potential prison sentences of from three to ten years and from one to three years, respectively. Lula's wife, Marisa Letícia, and one of their sons, Fábio Luis, are also accused of money laundering.

The warrant extends to former OAS president Léo Pinheiro, the former Workers' Party treasurer João Vaccari Neto and to two OAS executives: ex-Bancoop director Ana Maria Érnica and ex-Bancoop president Vagner de Castro.

Lula is accused by the prosecutors of "willful blindness"; in other words, of pretending not to know anything about the illicit origin of the funds used to renovate the apartment.

In a statement, the Lula Institute said that "the São Paulo prosecutors, in announcing their decision to charge Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva even before having received his testimony, is further proof of their bias in requesting his preventive detention."

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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