(Adds details of Petrobras investigation, recent charges)
By Maria Carolina Marcello
BRASILIA Oct 13 A federal judge in Brazil ruled
on Thursday that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will
stand trial for an alleged bribery scheme related to work by
construction giant Odebrecht in Angola.
It's the second time in less than a month that a federal
judge has ruled that Lula, a two-term president who left office
in 2011 as Brazil's most popular president with an 83-percent
approval rating, must stand trial.
Lula faces allegations of corruption, money laundering and
obstruction of justice related to a sprawling kickback scheme at
state-run oil company Petrobras, which prosecutors
allege he orchestrated for more than a decade.
Thursday's decision by Judge Vallisney Oliveira in Brasilia
centers on allegations Lula and others took 30 million reais
($9.3 million) in bribes to help win low-interest financing from
the BNDES development bank for Odebrecht projects in Angola.
Lula's lawyers denied the accusations.
Last month, Judge Sergio Moro ruled that Lula would stand
trial on charges he was a "direct beneficiary" of 3.7 million
reais in bribes from OAS SA, one of the engineering and
construction firms at the center of the graft scandal.
Separately, Moro decided on Thursday to try Eduardo Cunha,
former speaker of the lower house of Congress, for his alleged
role in the Petrobras corruption scandal.
As speaker, Cunha led the successful drive to impeach former
President Dilma Rousseff for breaking budgetary rules - a move
Rousseff and her supporters call a "coup" in retaliation for her
not trying to quash the aggressive Petrobras investigation.
Rousseff, who served as the chairwoman of the Petrobras
board for several years as the kickback scheme played out, is
being investigated for obstruction of justice in the graft
probe, but has not been charged with any crimes.
($1 = 3.22 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Additional reporting by
Brad Brooks and Tatiana Ramil in Sao Paulo; Editing by Sandra