A Brazilian appeals court unanimously upheld the corruption conviction of former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Jan. 24 and added to his sentence.
All three appellate court judges voted to uphold Lula’s convictions on taking bribes and money laundering. They also added 2 1/2 years to his sentence, condemning him to 12 years in prison.
Lula, 72, could now be ineligible to stand for election again under Brazil’s “Ficha Limpa” or “Clean Record” law, which bans political candidates whose convictions have been upheld by an appellate court.
Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index hit a new intraday high of 83,635 points on news of the unanimous ruling against Lula. It closed 3.32 percent higher on investor expectations his exclusion from the 2018 race will clear the way for a more market-friendly candidate who can stick toBrazil’s austerity agenda.
Brazil’s currency, the real, firmed 3 percent against the U.S. dollar, leading gains in Latin America.
“The ruling takes off the table the worst possible scenario for the market, the biggest downside possible in terms of the election,” said Roberto Campos, a partner at Sao Paulo-based Absolute Investimentos. “The guy who was completely not market-friendly is out.”
Lula faces six more indictments in corruption cases ranging from receiving bribes from engineering firm Odebrecht to obstructing justice and trafficking his influence to obtain government decisions favoring the auto industry.
He is among over 100 people convicted in the “Car Wash” investigation, the most sprawling ofBrazil’s numerous probes. It focuses on graft involving oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro, known as Petrobras , and other state-run companies.
Lula was convicted of corruption and money laundering last year for accepting a beachside apartment from an engineering firm vying for contracts with Petrobras.
Reuters contributed to this report