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Brazil's former president Lula given jail term for corruption


Brazil

Brazil's former president Lula given jail term for corruption

Former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who rose from childhood poverty to become a two-term president, was convicted on corruption charges on Wednesday in the first of five graft trials he faces.

He was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. He will remain free on appeal.

He has denied any wrongdoing and say the charges against him – which claim he accepted a bribes in the form of an apartment in a corruption scandal linked to state oil company Petrobras – are politically motivated.

On Wednesday, a judge found him guilty of accepting bribes from engineering firm OAS in the form of a beachfront apartment in return for his help in winning contracts with Petrobras.

The ruling marked a stunning fall for Lula, Brazil’s first working-class president who left office six years ago with an 83-percent approval rating. The former union leader won global admiration for transformative social policies that helped reduce stinging inequality in Latin America’s biggest country.

He was rumoured to be considering a bid for a third presidential term at next years election for the left-wing Workers’ Party.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama once labeled him the most popular politician on Earth.

He is also accused of money laundering, influence peddling and obstruction of justice.