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Controversy Surrounding Receipts Postponed Lula's Case to 2018

12/01/2017 - 10h45

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FELIPE BÄCHTOLD
FROM SÃO PAULO

Expert examinations and inquiries will postpone the second decision by judge Sergio Moro to 2018, related to former-president Lula's involvement in the Car Wash (Lava Jato) investigation.

The criminal proceeding, under which Lula is accused of receiving kickbacks from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht by purchasing land for Instituto Lula, was delayed due to questions regarding the authenticity of rent receipts submitted by Lula's defense, and due to analysis requests concerning plea bargaining material provided by Odebrecht.

Lula was heard by Moro on September 13. The defendants' hearing stage ended a week later. In other Car Wash cases, after the end of such stage, the judge usually establishes a deadline for parties to submit their closing arguments - the last step before judgment.

In the case of Lula's triplex apartment in Guarujá (coast of São Paulo), Moro's decision, which sentenced Lula to 9.5 years in prison, in July, was rendered two months after Lula's testimony.

Antonio Araújo - 19.nov.2017/Agência Tempo
Brazil's ex-president Lula
Brazil's ex-president Lula

The proceeding regarding Instituto Lula accuses the former-president of using money from Odebrecht's kickbacks to buy his neighboring apartment in São Bernardo do Campo (SP). According to the Federal Prosecution Office, the property was purchased by a straw man, Glaucos da Costamarques. Costamarques claims he only started receiving rent payments in 2015.

A possible judgment in early 2018 would coincide with initial activities for the presidential election campaign, officially scheduled to begin in August. However, in practice, the Regional Federal Court's judgment on the triplex apartment proceeding will likely have greater consequences on the election.

Even if Lula is sentenced to prison, he can appeal in freedom if the judge upholds the court's first decision.

If Lula's conviction is upheld by the appellate court, he will lose his political rights. Ficha Limpa (Clean Record) Law, bars candidates convicted by a group of judges from running for public office. The triplex case is expected be decided in the first half of 2018.

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

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