Brazil's Lula found guilty of corruption and money laundering, sentenced to 9.5 years in prison

Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been found guilty of corruption charges stemming from a scheme at the state oil company, Petrobras. He will remain free on appeal. Lula remains a very popular politician with widespread public support.

The Brazilian newspaper Estadao was the first to report the news, in Portuguese.

Estadao's breaking report reads (rough translation from Portuguese):

At age 71, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sentenced to 9 years and six months in prison for crimes of corruption and money laundering. The conviction of federal judge Sérgio Moro of the 13th Federal Court in Curitiba is the first of the former president in Operation Lava Jato.

"Among the crimes of corruption and laundering, there is material [concurso – competition?], which is why the combined sentences amount to nine years and six months of imprisonment, which I consider to be definitive for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva," Moro said.

Reuters reports that this is the first of five separate graft trial that Lula faces in Brazil.

Lawyers for Lula, still one of Brazil's most popular politicians, have said they would appeal a guilty ruling and have continuously blasted the trial as an illegitimate political witch hunt. His attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Judge Sergio Moro found Lula guilty of accepting 3.7 million reais ($1.2 million) worth of bribes from engineering firm OAS SA, the amount prosecutors said the company spent refurbishing a beach apartment for Lula in return for his help winning contracts with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.

And Bloomberg with the understatement of the year:

The guilty verdict on Lula, one of the most popular presidents in Brazilian history, weakens his chances of leading the Workers' Party back into power in the 2018 elections. Over the past few months he has consolidated his position in opinion polls as the front-runner for the presidential race, but he will become ineligible if his sentence is upheld on appeal. The conviction of the left-wing leader also ratchets up yet further the political tension in Brasilia, coming as President Michel Temer faces corruption charges of his own.

PHOTOS: Reuters