Rousseff Defends Patron Lula After Link to Brazil Graft Inquiry

  • Says her predecessor is the object of `a great injustice'
  • Police are investigating properties linked to former president

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff said her predecessor and political patron Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is the object of “a great injustice” after his name surfaced recently in conjunction with a major corruption investigation.

“I respect President Lula’s story, and I’m sure that this process will be overcome,” Rousseff told reporters on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, where she led a campaign to raise awareness of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. “I believe the country, Latin America, and the world needs leadership with President Lula’s characteristics.”

Dilma Rousseff
Dilma Rousseff
Photographer: Leo Correa/AP Images

The remarks were Rousseff’s first public comments about Lula since police began investigating two properties in Sao Paulo state, including an apartment in a beach-side complex in Guaruja, connected to the former president. The sites were renovated by companies involved in Carwash, a massive bribery scheme that since 2014 has landed several prominent politicians and businessmen in jail, and tarnished Latin America’s largest economy.

Rousseff met with Lula Friday in Sao Paulo, according to a government official with direct knowledge of her travel plans. Lula is still the Workers’ Party “Plan A” for presidential elections in 2018, party president Rui Falcao said in a Jan. 29 interview.

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