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Brazilian Appeals Court Confirms Conviction of Former President Lula for Corruption and Money Laundering


The Council will host a discussion on Friday, January 26th to discuss the verdict and the implications. The meeting will be at the U.S. Chamber, with call-in option. Please see details below:

The Trial Court Conviction

In July 2017, former President Lula was sentenced to nine years in prison for corruption and money laundering involving an apartment he allegedly received in return for political favors to a construction company.  Lula appealed this decision.

The Appeals Court Decision

On Wednesday, January 24,  2018 the Federal court with jurisdiction over the Car Wash investigation cases (TRF4) confirmed unanimously 3-0 the previous conviction of Former President Lula for corruption and money laundering. The Court’s decision also included an increase in prison sentence length from nine to twelve years. This decision directly affects the political future of Lula and this year’s general elections in Brazil.

An overturn of the unanimous decision of TRF4 is highly unlikely and limits the defendants appeal possibilities to the following:

Clarification Embargoes to the TRF4, if the verdict is seen as contradictory or uncertain; Special Appeal to the Superior Court (STJ) if arguing violation of a federal law; and Extraordinary Appeal to the Supreme Court (STF) if arguing a violation of the Constitution.

Due to the proximity of the elections, all appeals are expected by decided by October 2017.

Implications Over the Electoral Process

Although Lula’s eligibility depends on future decisions of the Electoral Court, this Wednesday’s conviction puts Lula and PT in the face of a new judicial battle to proceed with his intended presidential candidacy.  There is also a chance that PT will present another candidate to represent the party.

Key Dates

Definition of electoral candidacies: July 20 to August 5. PT will likely confirm Lula as its presidential candidate.
Candidate applications due to the Electoral Court: By August 15.
PT will likely present Lula’s application request.  Even before a confirmation of his eligibility, Lula will be able to start an official campaign as of August 16.
Decision of the Electoral Court on Candidates: By September 17. Due to TRF4’s decision, it is expected that Lula’s candidacy, if requested, will be denied.
Appeals of denied candidates: September onward. Denial decisions of the Electoral Court may be subject to appeals to the same Court, to the STJ and STF.


Discussion featuring:

Julia Esmanhoto
Managing Director, Patri Public Affairs

Monica de Bolle
Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Professor at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
Senior Advisor, Brazil-U.S. Business Council

João Barroso
Senior Advisor, Brazil-U.S. Business Council

Conference Call Details:

USA Toll Free: +1 877 820-7829
USA Toll: +1 720 259-7053
Brazil Toll Free: 0800 887-0232
Brazil, RJ: +55 21 4560-0038
Brazil, SP: +55 11 4935-7139
Participant Passcode: 3981382586

Please contact Bruno Schwartz with any questions.

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January 26, 2018
12:00 pm - 12:30 pm


Bruno Schwartz


U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20062 United States
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