7 Apr 2013

Investigation ordered into former Brazilian president

1:20 pm on 7 April 2013

A federal prosecutor in Brazil has ordered police to investigate accusations of corruption against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

He has been accused of involvement in an scheme that used public funds to pay coalition parties for political support. The scandal erupted in 2005.

The BBC reports Lula, as he is universally known, has always denied knowledge of the scheme, but several of his close aides have been convicted for their involvement.

Marcos Valerio, a businessman at the centre of the scandal, told prosecutors last September that the former president knew of the scheme and had received money from it.

Mr Valerio, who worked closely with Lula's Workers' Party, was giving testimony in a bid to reduce his sentence of 40 years in prison on corruption charges.

He was convicted last December with 24 other associates and close aides to Lula in a trial that was heard by the Supreme Court.

Lula left office at the end of 2010 with huge approval ratings after being re-elected in 2006.