Last week, Brazil’s federal district public prosecutor announced the launch of a criminal investigation into allegations of influence-peddling, a crime punishable with up to five years’ prison time, against Lula. The charges relate to the period after Lula left office, from 2011 to 2014, when he travelled to various African and Latin American countries at the expense of Odebrecht, the construction giant, in order to promote the company’s expertise. Lula is also suspected of pressuring the state development bank (Bndes), to loan money to Odebrecht to finance these foreign infrastructure projects.

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