Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva said Saturday that his wife, Marisa Leticia Rocco, who died on Thursday, "died sad" as victim of "scoundrels" who launched a smear campaign of corruption accusations against the couple.
"Marisa died sad because of the nasty remarks, the idiocy and the wickedness that they inflicted on her," Lula said as he stood in front of her coffin, which was draped with a Brazilian flag and a red flag of the left-wing Workers' Party. "This man who's saying goodby to you is not afraid to be arrested, because I must not prove my innocence. They have to prove the lies they told."
Lula did not mentioned any names, but local press said his statements were sent to Judge Sergio Moro, who is responsible for most of the cases in which he and Marisa are being investigated. Investigators accuse Lula and his wife of owning a beachside apartment acquired through alleged involvement in a kickback and money laundering scheme. The couple denied all allegations of corruption and money laundering, and the former president has challenged prosecutors to produce evidence in the case.
Lula also has confronted other allegations linked to the massive embezzlement scheme at state-run Petrobras oil company, also known as the “Car Wash” scandal.
In December, federal prosecutors accused him of taking bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht — embroiled in the Car Wash scandal and an international bribery network — in the form of an apartment as well as land on which to build his Lula Institute think tank in Sao Paulo.
But the former president's lawyers have vehemently denied the allegations, describing the prosecutors’ accusations as “blabber” without any proof. The Workers’ Party founder is already facing previous charges of corruption and money laundering, and he is also on trial for “obstruction of justice.” However, none of the accusations have been proven.
Lula’s supporters claim that he and his family have been victims of a “smear campaign” orchestrated by the right-wing that now governs the country.
Marisa was first lady from 2003 to 2011 and a veteran labor activist like her husband. She was pronounced brain dead Thursday at the wage of 66 at a hospital in Sao Paulo, where she had been treated in intensive care since Jan. 24 with a brain haemorrhage due to a ruptured brain aneurism.
Lula received condolences from hundreds of Brazilian politicians and citizens for his lost, even conservative President Michel Temer, who aided and benefited from a parliamentary coup against Lula's ally and successor in the presidency, Dilma Rousseff.