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Former Brazilian President involved in graft: ex-Petrobras executive

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Rio de Janeiro: Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was involved in the Petrobras’ corruption scheme that is under investigation, a former senior executive of the company has said.

Renato Duque, who used to be a senior executive of the state-owned oil giant, testified in a Brizilian court on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

He confessed that not only did the ex-President know about the scheme, he also took part in it and even played a leading role.

In his testimony, Duque said he had met Lula three times between 2012 and 2014, when he was no longer the President and Duque had stepped down from his position at Petrobras.

“In these meetings, it became very clear that he (Lula) was fully aware of everything and was in command,” Duque told the court.

Lula’s defence team denied all the accusations and said there was no evidence that the former President had engaged in any form of irregularities, including the Petrobras’ corruption scheme.

“Since they did not manage to produce any proof of the slandering accusations against the former President, even after two years of probe and privacy breach, the only option left for the accusers was to fabricate testimonies,” said Lula’s lawyers in an official statement.

The former President is accused of taking bribes including a luxury apartment in Sao Paulo. The investigators said his wife Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva was also involved.

Brazil is gripped by the Petrobras’ corruption scheme and has launched an extensive investigation into graft, known as Operation Car Wash.

The action came after former executives of oil giant Petrobras has laid bare the long-running scheme to inflate public works contracts so both the company and government officials could pocket millions in public funds.

More than 80 government officials have been placed under investigation for being involved in the Petrobras scheme.

IANS

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