The Federal Court of the 4th region (TRF4) upheld the corruption conviction of Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Three judges agreed with lower court judge Sergio Moro's decision. They also voted unanimously to increase Lula's sentence, to twelve years and one month in prison.
Moro, who oversees processes related to Operation Car Wash, had sentenced Lula to nine years and six months in July for money laundering and passive corruption in the process of a triplex condo apartment in the city of Guarujá, São Paulo coast.
Lula and former first lady Marisa Letícia, who died in 2017, were charged by federal prosecutors with corruption as the true owners of the triplex.
According to the charges, improvements in the apartment made by the construction company OAS, like the installation of a private elevator, were part of a bribe payment to the former president for supposedly favoring the company in contracts with Petrobras.
"Beyond reasonable doubt"
Pedro Gebran, first of the three judges to speak, said there is evidence “beyond reasonable doubt” to uphold the corruption conviction.
Gebran countered the defense thesis that the triplex belongs to the construction company. "OAS featured as a real stooge, in order to hide the true owner".
Judge Leandro Paulsen said the ownership is not the most important thing to be considered. Paulsen said Lula acted "in person", "powerful on his condition of President of the Republic” in the corruption scheme at Petrobras.
"The [Petrobras] directors supported by him commited the crimes, easing the hiring of the companies participating in the cartel", he added.
The third judge, Victor Laus, said it is important to consider the prominence of the proofs. “Proofs have resisted criticism, contradiction, confrontation. If they were weak, they would not have resisted”, he said.
Translated by Mariana Branco