Brazilian former President Lula da Silva was absolved of obstruction of justice on Thursday. Despite this acquittal, Lula is still facing five other crimes in the Operation Car Wash, while serving a prison sentence for corruption and money laundering.
The charge in which he was acquitted had been brought against him as part of the ongoing investigation, Operation Car Wash, which is probing corruption at the state-run oil company, Petrobras.
The accusation against him came after he was recorded offering money to Nestor Cervero, the former international director of Petrobras, in exchange for not collaborating with prosecutors in the corruption probe.
Federal Judge Ricardo Leite absolved Lula and other six defendants due to insufficient evidence to back up the accusation against the ex-president. The judge found that the accusation was made with only the statements from the informants of the case.
“The audio recording does not constitute sufficient proof to give a condemnatory decree. There are suspicions too over the hiding of facts by Cervero and his son Bernardo,” Judge Leite said in his ruling.
Thursday’s acquittal is the first that the former president has received in any of the Operation Car Wash cases against him, though the Federal Prosecutor’s Office had asked for the acquittal of Lula and the other defendants in September last year.