Former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, detained as part of corruption investigations

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Official Presidential portrait.
Image: Agência Brasil.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil, was detained yesterday as part of ongoing investigations into corruption related to Petrobras, the state-run oil company. A raid occurred at 0600 local time (0900 UTC) at a number of locations including President Lula's house in São Bernardo do Campo, near São Paulo. President Lula was held for questioning for three hours before being released.

The former president is alleged to have been involved in corruption at the state oil company including kickbacks from suppliers including both cash payments and property. The current president, Dilma Rousseff, said Lula's detention was "unnecessary". President Rousseff is currently under threat of impeachment and is alleged by her opponents to also be involved in the Petrobras bribery accusations under investigation by Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash).

After Lula's release, he described his detention as "judicial authoritarianism". He told reporters: "If they wanted to hear from me, they only had to call and I would have gone, because I owe nothing to anyone and fear nothing [...] They preferred to show power, arrogance, to make a show."