A judge ruled Tuesday that former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva should face trial for corruption and money laundering charges, even though the same judge had dropped all charges against Lula during the investigation into the corruption scheme inside the state-run oil company Petrobras.
Last week, prosecutors accused Lula of being the mastermind in the Petrobras corruption scandal, saying he directly benefited in the form of a gifted apartment in Guaruja and a farm in Atibaia, both in the state of Sao Paulo.
The accusation also includes his wife, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva, and six people from the construction company Group OAS. They are formally accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering.
"The facts and evidence are enough for me to accept the accusation," said Judge Sergio Moro in a statement. "Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva allegedly received benefits from Group OAS. According to the accusation, he had knowledge of its origins in the criminal scheme that damaged Petrobras."
On Aug. 19, Moro, who also oversaw the corruption case within Petrobas, released a report clearing Lula of all charges.
The judge acknowledged that Lula and his family do not own property that investigators thought belonged to the politician, dashing claims they were bought with money obtained through illegal contracts with Petrobras.
Officials at the Public Ministry decided to press charges anyway, now alleging Lula benefited from "renovations" to the said apartment.
Supporters of Lula argue the actions against the former Brazilian president are politically motivated and an attempt to prevent him from running as president in the next election in 2018.
Lula remains the most popular politician in Brazil despite the accusations of corruption against him.