RIO DE JANEIRO â The former president of Brazil, Luiz InÃ¡cio Lula da Silva, was found guilty of corruption and money laundering on Wednesday and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison, a stunning setback for a politician who has wielded enormous influence across Latin America for decades.
The case against Mr. da Silva, who raised Brazilâs profile on the world stage as president from 2003 to 2010, stemmed from charges that he and his wife illegally received about $1.1 million in improvements and expenses for a beachfront apartment from a construction company.
In return, prosecutors said, the company was able to obtain lucrative contracts from Petrobras, the state-controlled oil giant.
Plagued by scandals, Mr. da Silvaâs leftist Workersâ Party lost the presidency last year when the Senate impeached his handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff, in a power struggle that consumed the nation.
Mr. da Silva can appeal the conviction, but the ruling could deliver a serious blow to his plans for a political comeback.
Mr. da Silva has called the allegations against him a âfarceâ and has announced his intention to run for president in next yearâs election. He has been widely considered a leading contender.