Brazil's former president Lula given jail term for corruption

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Brazil's former president Lula given jail term for corruption

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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.