Fernando Haddad, the former mayor of Sao Paulo and current vice-presidential running mate of presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has been accused of corruption, money laundering and forming a criminal organization.
Sao Paulo's public prosecution office brought the charges following the recommendation of Marcelo Batlouni Mendroni, a member of the Task Force Against Criminal Cartel Formation and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery (Gedec). They claim that the former mayor improperly received approximately US$623,000 from UTC Engenharia.
Haddad's legal defense team released a public statement saying that there is no basis for charges and that the vice-presidential candidate was taken by surprise by the accusations. They pointed out that this is the second time the public prosecutor of Sao Paulo has brought charges against Haddad in the past week.
On Aug. 27, the public prosecutor alleged Haddad had committed administrative misconduct. According to Wilson Tafner, the prosecutor in the case, the former mayor of Sao Paulo had "benefitted from gains via illicit advantages," and enriched himself through indirect, illicit means stemming from payments of debts for his mayoral campaign in 2012.
Haddad has also been accused of administrative misconduct in relation to a series of irregularities in the construction of a bicycle path in Sao Paulo, according to UOL. He has denied all charges.
Workers' Party President Gleisi Hoffmann weighed in on the matter, calling the accusations fake news. "They've started to make false, barbaric claims against Haddad."
During a recent march in favor of Lula's presidential candidacy, Haddad said: "We will never renounce Lula. We are here to demonstrate that our leader is unjustly imprisoned." However, since the march, Brazil's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has voted to ban Lula from running in the October elections, despite the former head of state leading all candidates with roughly 39 percent of the projected votes.
Under the threat of being barred from the presidential election, Lula has been associating his name with Haddad as a viable presidential substitution.
The party now has until Sept. 17 to change the names on the ballot, but the TSE has given it just ten days to make the change.