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Thursday, 21 May 2020

Brazilian court denies prosecutors' complaint against Lula over alleged Odebrecht bribes

A federal court in Brasilia on 21 May rejected federal prosecutors’ complaint against former president Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva and his brother Frei Chico over bribes they allegedly received from construction company Odebrecht, according to reports.

Brazilian prosecutors unsuccessfully appealed against a previous court ruling that deemed there was insufficient evidence to support allegations Lula and Chico accepted around $200,000 in bribes from Odebrecht between 2003 and 2015 in the form of political donations to Lula’s Worker's Party.

A Brazilian court sentenced Lula to more than 12 years in prison in 2018 for accepting a beachside property from Odebrecht. The sentence was reduced to just over eight years in April 2019.

He was released in November that year following a Supreme Court ruling that allows individuals to exhaust their appeal options before serving prison time. 

Mexico launches investigation into state contracts linked to former president

The president of Mexico has launched an investigation into $640 million of medical supplies contracts that were awarded to a company linked to former president Enrique Peña Nieto during his time in office, according to Reuters

The lucrative contracts were reportedly given to Plasti-Estiril, a company founded by the former president’s family in 1991. Baxter International, which now owns the company, reportedly said that Nieto’s family sold their shares in Plasti-Estiril in 1992.

The Mexican attorney general’s office is also investigating the former president as part of its ongoing probe into corruption at Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex.

Nieto has previously denied all allegations of corruption.

Spoofing defendants ask judge to throw out case over “inexcusable delays”

Former Deutsche Bank traders James Vorley and Cedric Chanu asked a federal court in Chicago on 20 May to dismiss market manipulation charges against them in light of prosecutors’ repeated delays to bring the case to trial. 

Vorley and Chanu’s trial is scheduled to begin on 14 September, which is 32 months after they were charged with spoofing in January 2018. The US Justice Department has asked the court to delay the trial for multiple reasons, including to file superseding charges against the men in November 2019. 

Lawyers for the two former traders say at least one of these delays violated the Speedy Trial Act, which entitles defendants to a trial within 70 days of an indictment being filed, with certain permitted exceptions.

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