Former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has been sentenced to prison nearly 10 years after being convicted of corruption.
The ruling is a heavy blow on the 71-year-old Lula as his chance of political comeback has been thwarted, being one of the prominent politicians and top contenders to win next year’s presidential election.
Judge Sergio Moro found Lula guilty of accepting $1.2 million worth of bribes from the engineering firm OAS SA. Prosecutors said the company spent the same amount refurbishing a beach apartment for Lula in return for his helping in winning contracts with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.
The former union leader, who won global praise for policies to reduce stinging inequality in Brazil, faces four more corruption trials and will remain free on appeal. Lula’s legal team said in an emailed statement that he was innocent and they would appeal. Moro said he did not order Silva’s immediate arrest because the conviction of a president is such a serious matter that he felt an appeal should be heard first.
Mr. Lula led Brizil between 2003 and 2010. His successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached last year for mishandling budget.