The Prosecutor’s Office of Sao Paulo has subpoenaed former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva [BBC profile] as they investigate a possible money laundering scheme linked to the Petrobras [corporate website] scandal. Prosecutors in the Petrobras investigation allege that businesses paid a total of over USD $2 billion [JURIST report] to obtain Petrobras contracts, which they then exploited by running up costs and delaying completion. The prosecutors are concerned [AP report] about an apartment Silva was planning to purchase in a building that was owned by a construction company that was also allegedly involved in the scheme. He never purchased the apartment, but prosecutors say the parties attempted to keep the sale a secret. Silva and his wife will be questioned on February 17.
More than 100 individuals and 50 politicians have been arrested in connection to the Petrobras scandal, including the chief of staff under Brazil’s former President Jose Dirceu, former speaker of the house Eduardo Cunha [JURIST report], and the former President Fernando Collor de Mellon [Britannica profile] in various kickback schemes. Attempts to impeach [JURIST Report] the current president, and former chairwoman of Petrobras, Dilma Rousseff [BBC Profile] were also made last month, but the parliamentary commission found no proof implicating her in the Petrobras scandal. In November, Brazil’s highest court ordered [JURIST report] the arrest of André Esteves, the chief executive of the country’s largest investment bank, and that of Delcídio do Amaral, a powerful senator of the country’s ruling party, both accused of bribery and corruption affiliated with Petrobras.