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Questioning of Brazilian ex-President Lula in Petrobras scandal shows no one is above the law

Transparency International welcomed news Brazilian authorities are taking their investigation of the Petrobras corruption scandal to the highest levels, as seen by the detainment today of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for questioning.

Brazilian police questioned Lula and searched his home, according to numerous media reports, suggesting for now that investigators will leave no stone unturned as they piece together the multibillion dollar corruption case at the oil giant Petrobras.

“This is one of the biggest corruption cases in Latin American history. We are pleased to see that in the ongoing investigation no current or former politician has been considered too powerful or untouchable by investigative authorities,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.

“If found guilt as charged by the investigation this will send a message to the corrupt that no one is immune from the law.”

The Petrobras case was recently chosen as one of the most symbolic cases of grand corruption in Transparency International’s Unmask the Corrupt campaign. It involves bribery, kickbacks and money laundering worth over US$2 billion. More than 50 sitting politicians and 18 companies linked to the scandal face investigations, including Brazilian construction companies that allegedly paid bribes to secure Petrobras business.

Grand corruption is the abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many, and causes serious and widespread harm to individuals and society. It often goes unpunished.

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