Brazil to probe ex-leader for graft

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iol news pic Lula da Silva AP Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Brasilia, Brazil - Brazil's attorney general says he will investigate claims that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva knew about a cash-for-votes scheme in Congress.

Roberto Gurgel said Wednesday he'll examine statements by businessman Marcos Valerio that Silva approved of the so-called monthly payout scheme and that he used cash from it while in office.

Valerio was among 25 people convicted by the Supreme Court for their roles in the operation, which saw legislators given cash handouts in return for support of Silva's policies. Valerio was found to have been the operator of the scheme. He was sentenced to more than 40 years in prison and fined $1.3 million.

He made the allegations against Silva in testimony to federal prosecutors. They emerged last week after a newspaper obtained a transcript. - Sapa-AP

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