Brazil’s ex-president Lula handed 10-year sentence for corruption

BRASILIA – Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison on corruption charges.

On Wednesday, Judge Sergio Moro found Lula guilty of accepting 3.7 million reais ($1.2 million) worth of bribes from engineering firm OAS SA, the amount prosecutors said the company spent refurbishing a beach apartment for Lula in return for his help winning contracts with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.

Lula, Brazil’s first working-class president, remains a popular figure among voters after he left office six years ago with an 83-percent approval rating. The former union leader won global admiration for transformative social policies that helped reduce stinging inequality in Latin America’s biggest country.

Lula, a top contender to win next year’s presidential election, would be barred from office if his guilty verdict is upheld by an appeals court, which is expected to take at least eight months to rule.