Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison on Wednesday, over charges of corruption and money laundering. The most popular president in Brazil's history, Lula was the frontrunner in Brazil's 2018 presidential election, but will be ineligible from holding office if he loses his appeal, Bloomberg reports.
Lula stands accused of siphoning billions of dollars off of contracts at the state-run oil company Petrobras. He has maintained his innocence, claiming the accusations are politically motivated, The Guardian reports. "Never in the story of Brazil was someone so persecuted and massacred as I am being in the last years," Lula has said.
Dilma Rousseff succeeded Lula but was impeached last year; Brazilian President Michel Temer now faces calls for his resignation, also over corruption allegations. After Wednesday, Lula will still face four additional corruption trials.