Brazilian Judge Seizes $2.8 Million in Silva’s Pension Funds

A judge in Brazil on Thursday ordered the seizure of more than $2.8 million in pension funds from former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in connection with his corruption conviction.

The funds were in one of Silva’s individual accounts and in another linked to his company LILS, which administers assets from his lectures, according to the ruling released by the office of federal judge Sergio Moro.

Last week, Moro sentenced Silva to 9 1/2 years in prison in connection with a graft probe involving state-run oil giant Petrobras.

A spokesman for Silva confirmed Thursday’s decision, but did not make comments to The Associated Press. The former president will remain free until his appeal of the conviction is heard by a group of magistrates.

None of Silva’s pension funds can be used until there is a final ruling in the case.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s central bank froze four of Silva’s bank accounts amounting to more than $190,000. Judge Moro also barred the ex-president from using three apartments, a piece of land and two cars linked to him.

With the seizure of the pension funds, Silva’s assets frozen by Moro amount to almost 10 million Brazilian reals, or $3 million. That is the figure requested by the judge in Wednesday’s ruling “for the reparation of damages” for crimes committed.

Last week the judge also seized a beachfront apartment in the city of Guaruja, Sao Paulo state, that is the centerpiece of the corruption and money laundering case against Silva. The apartment is valued at about 2.2 million Brazilian reals ($700,000), according to investigators.

Silva denies any wrongdoing and says the trial is politically driven. Recent polls put him as the front runner for the 2018 presidential elections, but electoral law says the former president will be barred from running if the corruption conviction is upheld.

Silva’s Worker’s Party scheduled a series of protests against his conviction and the unpopular reform of labor laws approved last week by President Michel Temer.

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