August 7, 2019 / 2:23 PM / 12 days ago

Brazil judge clears ex-president Lula's move to Sao Paulo jail

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrives at the headquarters where he is serving a prison sentence, after attending the funeral of his 7-year-old grandson, in Curitiba, Brazil March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Rodolfo Buhrer

BRASILIA (Reuters) - A federal judge in Brazil on Wednesday authorized the transfer of imprisoned former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from the southern city of Curitiba to a jail in the state of Sao Paulo.

Lula, as the former leftist leader is known, was convicted in 2017 of taking a bribe from an engineering firm in return for help landing contracts with state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

After losing an appeal, he was arrested in April of last year, after a dramatic standoff between police and his supporters in Greater Sao Paulo. He was taken to Curitiba, where the corruption probe was based, to serve a 12-year sentence.

He is being held in a jail within a federal police station. However, police complained in a motion seen by Reuters that overseeing Lula’s imprisonment was diverting significant time and resources, as well as inconveniencing city residents.

Lula served as president from 2003 to 2011, when he oversaw robust economic growth and falling inequality during a commodities boom. The corruption conviction damaged his reputation, and he was prohibited from running in Brazil’s 2018 election, even as he retains a sizeable base of supporters.

The ruling on his transfer did not specify when he would be moved or which prison he would be moved to in Sao Paulo.

Reporting By Ricardo Brito; Writing and additional reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by David Gregorio

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