Brazil prosecutors weigh investigating ex-leader Silva for overseas business lobbying

Associated Press

Federal prosecutors in Brazil say they're weighing whether to investigate a former president's overseas lobbying efforts for the nation's biggest construction company.

The prosecutor's office says in an emailed statement Monday that an anti-corruption unit has 90 days to decide whether to open a full investigation of whether former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva engaged in influence peddling.

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The newsmagazine Epoca reported over the weekend that Silva stumped on behalf of the Odebrecht construction giant on projects totaling well over $1 billion, courting leaders in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ghana and Venezuela.

Epoca alleges the contracts eventually signed were both inflated and in large part funded by Brazil's own state development bank.

Odebrecht and Silva have rejected any wrongdoing, though acknowledge the leader traveled overseas at the company's invitation.