Brazil prosecutors say Lula was 'general' of vast Petrobras graft scheme

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva looks on as he attends a meeting with members of the Workers Party (PT) in Sao Paulo, Brazil September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors on Wednesday denounced former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as the 'general' in command of a vast corruption scheme at state oil company Petrobras PETR4.SA aimed at keeping his leftist Workers Party in power.

Public Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol told a news conference that the Petrobras scheme caused an estimated 42 billion real ($12.6 billion) in losses. Lula’s lawyers said in a statement that he strongly denied the allegations and would fight the charges.

Reporting by Sergio Spagnuolo; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Daniel Flynn