Lula Under Investigation in Brazil Carwash Case, Prosecutor Says

A letter from the prosecutor-general’s office made public on Monday confirms that the federal task force in charge of Brazil’s sweeping corruption probe known as Carwash has been investigating former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva since late last year.

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The federal task force is probing Lula’s involvement during his time as president with construction companies that are under investigation in Carwash, according the letter that Prosecutor-general Rodrigo Janot sent to Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber on Monday. Brazilian media including newspaper Folha de S. Paulo also reported on the letter, which the court’s press office e-mailed to journalists.

Janot wrote the letter after Lula’s lawyers complained to the Supreme Court that both federal and Sao Paulo state prosecutors were probing his involvement with the construction companies.

The Lula Institute that the former president runs said in an e-mailed response to questions that he has nothing to hide. The institute also noted it expects the Supreme Court to decide which authority can lead the probe.

Lula in recent months has been targeted by corruption investigations. He hasn’t been charged with any crime and repeatedly has said the probes are part of a campaign to discredit him.

Carwash is an almost two-year investigation into allegations that companies paid politicians in exchange for contracts at state-run companies. It has landed dozens of business executives and politicians in jail, including members of the ruling Workers’ Party that Lula helped create.

Carwash has fanned political tensions, as members of the Workers’ Party accuse President Dilma Rousseff’s administration of failing to shield them from the investigations. Her administration announced earlier on Monday it was replacing Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo, who was criticized for allowing federal police to investigate Workers’ Party members and their allies.

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