Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has defended himself against allegations of involvement in money-laundering and corruption.
The former president said in Sao Paulo on Thursday that he was "angry and confused" over the charges lodged against him by the country’s federal prosecutors.
The 70-year-old strongly denied any wrongdoing and said the allegations against him aimed to damage his image and stop his possible candidacy in the 2018 presidential election.
On Wednesday, Brazilian federal prosecutors indicted Lula and his wife for implication in graft schemes and the embezzlement of more than $2 billion from the country’s giant state-run oil company, Petrobras. They described Lula as the “boss” of the massive Petrobras graft.
Lula and his wife were also charged of receiving a luxury apartment at a seaside resort in Sao Paulo from a major construction company involved in the Petrobras corruption scandal.
Lula has dismissed the graft charges, saying allegations against him and his associates are politically-motivated.
The Petrobras scandal has also affected Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, leading to her impeachment by the Senate and her removal from power last month.
Dozens of other politicians and high executives in Brazil also stand accused of having embezzled huge sums from the state-owned oil company in a network of inflated contracts and bribes.