BRASILIA, (Reuters) – Brazil’s top prosecutor yesterday charged former Presidents Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff along with fellow Workers Party members with forming a criminal organization, the latest accusations in Brazil’s sprawling corruption scandal.
The prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, alleged that eight members of the Workers Party, including Lula and Rousseff, committed a series of crimes involving state-owned oil firm Petrobras such as cartel formation, corruption and money laundering.
They were the first criminal charges to be leveled against Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016 for breaking budgetary laws.
The 230-page document filed with the Supreme Court accused Lula of heading the organization.
Lula, who is still Brazil’s most popular politician, has already been convicted and is appealing a corruption conviction that would bar him from running for president in 2018. He faces four other corruption trials.
The charges stem from the Operation Car Wash investigation that uncovered a cartel of companies paying bribes to officials to secure Petrobras contracts, revelations that have spawned a host of investigations that has shaken Brazil’s political system and economy.