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Lava Jato Operation: Former President Lula Says that He Was 'Nearly the Victim of a Massacre'

03/15/2017 - 13h07

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MARINA DIAS
RUBENS VALENTE
FROM BRASÍLIA

In his first day of testimony as a defendant in the so-called Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ended up venting and said that he had been "nearly the victim of a massacre".

"Do you know what it's like to get up every morning thinking that the press is at the door to your house because you are about to be arrested."

"I doubt that [among] those [the accused] who have been arrested and who will be arrested, that there is a businessman, a politician, who has the guts to say that one day he gave me R$ 10 (US$ 3), who has the guts to say that 'one day Lula asked me for' five cents", said the Workers' Party leader to Federal Judge Ricardo Augusto Soares Leite, from the 10th Federal Court in Brasilia, who is responsible for conducting the interrogation.

Lula denied the accusation that he had commanded any arrangement to "prevent, modulate or retard" the plea-bargain agreement of former Petrobras director Nestor Cerveró with the Lava Jato investigation.

Lula's alleged participation in the scheme was detailed by former senator Delcídio do Amaral (formerly of the PT party from MS) in a plea agreement with the Federal Public Prosecutor.

According to Delcídio, Lula was worried about Ceveró's possible plea-bargain, which might implicate José Carlos Bumlai, the Workers' Party leader's friend.

When questioned about alleged conversations which may have had the intention of influencing the investigations, Lula said: "Regarding Lava Jato we spoke about coffee, lunch, dinner and afterwards the soap opera, but we didn't even mention Ceveró's name".

According to Lula, he is being "persecuted" within the Lava Jato Operation and someone is "instigating" plea-bargainers to mention his name.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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