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Brazil judge blocks government appointment of ex-president Lula

[JURIST] A Brazilian judge issued an injunction on Thursday to block the appointment of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as chief of staff to his successor and current president, Dilma Rousseff, shortly after he was sworn in to the position. Lula was charged [JURIST report] earlier this month in connection with money laundering and misrepresentation of assets involving a giant graft scheme at Petrobras. The federal judge issued the injunction to protect the investigation, as cabinet members can only be investigated by the Supreme Court, not by federal courts. On Wednesday a telephone recording [BBC report] was released which has been interpreted by some to show that Lula was appointed to the position to be protected from prosecution. The recording prompted widespread protests [FT report] across the country.

Brazil's political establishment has been in turmoil as many powerful politicians including former presidents have been recently brought to the center of embarrassing corruption investigations. Also in March, Brazil's Supreme Court unanimously authorized [JURIST report] the corruption charges against member of Congress Eduardo Cunha to proceed. Eduardo Cunha was implicated in the Petrobras scandal. President Rousseff herself has been implicated in that very same scandal and has been at the center of impeachment proceedings [JURIST report] for months. More than 100 individuals and 50 politicians have been arrested in connection to the Petrobras scandal.

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