Buenos Aires Times

latin america CORRUPTION CHARGES

Lava Jato judge issues arrest warrant for ex-Brazil president Lula

Judge Sergio Moro issues arrest warrant for former Brazilian president, who has until 5pm tomorrow to surrender.

Thursday 5 April, 2018
Brazilian newspapers headline the decision of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) that denied an habeas corpus petition for Brazilian former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Brazilian newspapers headline the decision of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) that denied an habeas corpus petition for Brazilian former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Foto:AFP-MAURO PIMENTEL

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Brazilian Federal Judge Sergio Moro, famous for leading the Lava Jato ("Car Wash") corruption probe has issued a warrant for the arrest of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Moro gave Lula 24 hours to present himself to federal police in the southern city of Curitiba, meaning the former Workers' Party (PT) leader has until 5pm tomorrow to surrender.

Moro's decision comes after an appeals court said he must start a 12-year-and-one-month term for corruption. Last year, the federal judge convicted Lula of trading favours with a construction company in exchange for the promise of a beachfront apartment. That conviction was upheld by the appeals court in January.

The orders follow a narrow Supreme Court ruling in the early hours of this morning denying the ex-leader's request to delay the sentence while pursuing appeals against the conviction handed down last year.

Lula's likely imminent incarceration throws into chaos his plan to stage a comeback in an October presidential election. Surveys had put him as the comfortable favourite.

Rally

The PT announced that the former president would address a rally in his home town of São Bernardo do Campo, a suburb of São Paulo, late Friday. 

Brazil is divided over the court decisions against him. Left-wing sympathisers, remembering Lula's achievement in lifting tens of millions out of poverty during his 2003-2011 years in office, see a plot designed to prevent him becoming president again. But opponents and prosecutors believe he is properly being punished for high-level corruption revealed through the epic Lava Jato graft probe that has rocked Brazilian politics and business over the past four years.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court bench decided by six judges to five that Lula must now begin his sentence, having lost an initial appeal in January.

- TIMES/AGENCIES

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