Brazil's former President Lula faces another set of charges

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image captionLula left office in 2011 after two terms as Brazil's most popular president with an 83% approval rating.

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is facing another set of criminal charges linked to Brazil's Petrobras oil company, prosecutors say.

In the latest charge, he is accused of taking bribes from a construction giant, Odebrecht, to help win it eight Petrobras contracts.

Lula is facing two other sets of corruption charges, with a ruling in one of them expected early next year.

His lawyers have repeatedly said their client is innocent of all accusations.

Lula says the charges are designed to destroy his reputation and prevent him from standing in presidential elections in 2018.

He is among dozens of politicians charged with taking bribes from Odebrecht and other construction companies in exchange for facilitating contracts with Petrobras.

Prosecutors believe that bribes totalling 75 million reais ($22.1m; £17.8m) were paid by Odebrecht and used in the purchase of two estates linked to the former president.

But Lula has denied that he or his institute own either of the properties involved in the case.

His lawyer called the latest charges "a work of fiction".

A judge now must review the case and decide whether he should stand in another trial.

He is already standing trial for alleged corruption and money laundering, as well as for obstruction of justice.

Recent polls show him as the would-be frontrunner for the 2018 elections.

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