Brazil has formally charged two former presidents, Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, with forming a criminal organization to divert funds from the country’s state oil company, Petrobras.
Brazil’s top prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, alleged on Tuesday that eight members of the Workers Party, including Lula and Rousseff, committed a series of crimes involving Petrobras, including as cartel formation, corruption and money launderingbetween 2002 and 2016.
The ex-presidents deny the accusations. These are the first criminal charges to be leveled against Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016 for breaking budgetary laws.
The charges are related to the sprawling Operation Car Wash that uncovered a scheme in which Brazil’s biggest construction firms overcharged Petrobras for building contracts.
Some of the extra money was used to pay off politicians, buy their votes and help with political campaigns. Dozens of senior politicians and high-ranking businessmen have been implicated in the scandal, which has led to several other investigations.