Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was convicted on Wednesday of accepting bribes in exchange for his influence as a former chief executive. The conviction was handed down by Federal Judge Sergio Moro, who has spearheaded an investigation into corruption in Lula’s administration and in successor administrations. Moro sentenced Lula to nine-and-one-half years in prison. The former president can appeal the conviction and the sentence. Moro pointedly declined to order Lula’s temporary arrest, saying he wished “to avoid trouble.” The conviction stems from Lula’s use of a luxury apartment at the seaside resort of Guarujá. Moro said the evidence was overwhelming that Lula accepted use of the apartment, from contractors doing business with the government, in exchan ge for his influence over contract awards and terms. Lula has denied the charges. Two others were also convicted in the case. Wednesday’s verdict is only the first in a series of three cases involving Lula and corruption charges.
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