BRASILIA – Brazilian former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has sued four journalists over an article in the news magazine Veja suggesting that he was involved in a massive corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.
The suit names reporters Robson Bonin, Adriano Ceolin and Daniel Pereira, the authors of the cover story in Veja, and the publication’s editor-in-chief, Euripedes Alcantara, the former president’s Lula Institute said in a statement.
The article states that one of the businessmen detained over the Petrobras scandal has decided to reveal “devastating secrets” about the alleged participation of Lula and one of his sons in the scheme.
Veja’s story “is repugnant, both in the way it was written and the absolute lack of elements to support it,” the Lula Institute said.
“The article repeats practices common in Veja: it lies, it formulates groundless accusations without any proof, represents connections as if they were facts, attributes statements and facts, doesn’t have sources and seeks to attack, in any manner, the honor and image of the former president,” the institute added.
More than 50 politicians, among them dozens of lawmakers, are being investigated for the $2-billion Petrobras scandal, but the list does not include Lula, who governed from 2003-2011.
Nevertheless, federal prosecutor Valtan Timbo Mendes Furtado opened 10 days ago an investigation to determine whether Lula, since leaving office, has engaged in influence-peddling to win lucrative overseas contracts for major Brazilian companies.
Lula’s attorneys demanded from the Attorney General’s Office an investigation of Furtado for promoting an investigation “in the absence of any evidence” of a crime.
The AG office agreed to begin disciplinary actions against Mendes Furtado, but did not quash the investigation of Lula.