- Lula had planned to appear at Rousseff’s impeachment trial
- Former president has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing
Brazilian police charged former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with corruption and money laundering, just as his hand-picked successor faces the final stage of an impeachment trial.
A spokesman for the federal police in Brasilia confirmed the charges on Friday, which local media reported are in relation to a beach-side apartment in Sao Paulo state that Lula and his wife frequented.
Lula doesn’t own the property, and the accusations have no legal merit, his lawyers Cristiano Zanin Martins and Roberto Teixeira wrote in statement. The 70-year-old former labor leader has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and said he is the victim of political persecution.
The charge against Lula comes just days before he planned to appear at President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment trial in a show of support. A final vote on allegations that Rousseff illegally financed government spending is expected on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Once the most popular president in Brazilian history, Lula was already under investigation for obstruction of justice allegations. Last month he filed a complaint with the United Nations, saying the federal judge behind the probe had violated his human rights.
Judge Sergio Moro, who is leading a sweeping corruption investigation that has landed prominent executives and politicians in jail, earlier this year ordered Lula detained for questioning.