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03:30 PM, December 12, 2016
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Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Brazilian investigators on Friday accused former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of using his influence to help Saab win the tender for 36 jets worth about $5.6 billion.

Lula, who was no longer in the presidency when the suspected illegal practices happened, was paid 2.4 reais ($740,000) by Marcondes & Mautoni, a company that assisted foreign firms doing business in Brazil, Reuters reported Friday.

Prosecutors also said that Lula's acts in favor of Saab took place between 2013 and 2015. He left office in 2010.

Lula's lawyers denied any illegal participation of the former president or his son in the process. They said the payment Lula's son received from Marcondes & Mautoni referred to services effectively executed by Luis Claudio Lula da Silva, such as organizing American style football championships in Brazil.

The Brazilian government announced late in 2013 that it had chosen the Gripen NG fighter jet produced by Saab. The Swedish plane beat Boeing's F-18 Super Hornet and France's Rafale, produced by Dassault Aviation.

The contract with Saab was signed in 2014.

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