Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be tried for corruption and money laundering over an alleged scheme at the state oil company, Petrobras, a judge has said.
Brazilian prosecutors say Lula da Silva accepted 3.7 million reais ($1.11 million) in bribes connected to the multi-billion dollar scheme.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, 70, had already been charged in August with allegedly obstructing investigations.
“I am sad,” he said.
“It is a big farce, a big lie, a big pyrotechnic show.
“What’s happening isn’t getting me down, but just motivates me to go out and talk more.”
Judge Sergio Moro, who is overseeing Operation Car Wash, the investigation into corruption allegations at Petrobras, said there was “sufficient evidence of [Lula’s] responsibility”.
The money that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva allegedly received was laundered through the purchase and renovation of a beach apartment, prosecutors say.
The flat was built by a construction company implicated in the scandal.
Lula’s wife, Marisa Leticia, and six others have also been indicted.
The former leader was accused by prosecutors of being the “boss” of the scheme, estimated to have cost Petrobras more than $2 billion.
Several politicians and Petrobras executives have been arrested and sentenced as a result of the two-year inquiry.
Investigators believe overpriced contracts with Petrobras were given in return for bribes.
Some of the illicitly-obtained money was used to finance the electoral campaign of top Brazilian politicians, they allege.
Luiz Inacio Lula da SIlva, who served as president between 2003 and 2011, was one of Brazil’s most popular leaders and is seen as a possible candidate for the 2018 presidential elections.
However, the popularity of his Workers’ Party plummeted this year and his chosen successor Dilma Rousseff was impeached last month.
A criminal conviction would bar Lula da Silva from running in 2018.