Brazil's Lula denies wrongdoings
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday denied accusations that he took bribes from construction company OAS.
Lula is accused of receiving as bribes a fancy apartment in the beach town of Guaruja in Sao Paulo state. According to the prosecution, the apartment was completely renovated in order to be used by the former president.
In a testimony, Lula denied owning the property. He is not listed as the owner, and neither are any members of his family. Lula said his only connection with the apartment was that he was a potential buyer. He considered purchasing the property, but ultimately decided against it.
After testifying in the southern city of Curitiba, he spoke to thousands of supporters and reiterated his willingness to testify as many times as necessary to state his innocence.
"If there is a Brazilian, a human being who is seeking the truth, it is me," he said.
The case against Lula carries much political weight as Lula has expressed intention to run for president next year. Lula is a favorite in all opinion polls so far.
In addition, the reforms being carried out by the administration of President Michel Temer are unpopular among voters. Temer has an extremely low approval rate, even lower than that of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached from office.
The public rejection to Temer's projects may work in Lula's favor. The bribe-taking allegations serve as the best chance his opponents can keep him out of the race.