Agence France-Presse

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was absolved Thursday in one of the six pending legal cases he is facing, all unrelated to the corruption charges that have sent him to prison.

Lula, the favourite ahead of Brazil’s October presidential election, has been imprisoned since April after being sentenced to 12 years behind bars for accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from Brazilian construction company OAS.

Lula, 72, insists on his innocence and has slammed the corruption accusations as a political conspiracy aimed at thwarting his electoral ambitions.

In one of the six pending cases, Federal Judge Ricardo Leite ruled Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to back up obstruction of justice charges against the ex-president.

Lula was accused in 2016 of trying to buy the silence of a former Petrobras director collaborating with prosecutors in the sprawling Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) corruption probe.

The probe has ensnared an array of prominent members of Brazil’s political and business elite, including President Michel Temer.

Investigators discovered that politicians and their parties were allegedly taking money from the Odebrecht construction conglomerate and other big companies in exchange for political favours and contracts with state oil company Petrobras.

President of Brazil 2003-2011, Lula left office with sky-high ratings following an economic boom and widely praised social programs to reduce poverty.

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