By Lisandra Paraguassu
BRASILIA (Reuters) - The former finance minister under Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday accused the ex-president of receiving bribes from contractor Odebrecht [ODBES.UL], adding to a list of corruption accusations that threaten Lula's ability to run in 2018.
Lawyers for former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci said he told prosecutors that Lula accepted Odebrecht's purchase of land for an institute in his name, a country house in Sao Paulo state and 300 million reais ($97 million) to be used after he left office.
A representative for Lula said in a statement that Palocci, who was arrested a year ago in a corruption investigation, was lying and making accusations without evidence to secure a favorable deal with prosecutors to reduce his sentence.
Such testimony from a close confidant could be damning for Lula, who intends to run for president again next year if he can successfully appeal a conviction that would bar him from standing. Lula faces four additional trials.
Palocci testified for two hours as part of a probe into allegations Lula accepted the land for the institute.
"It was a blood pact and a package of bribes that included payment for a property, an estate ranch and 300 million reais that gradually were made available according to a spreadsheet delivered by the contractor," said Adriano Bretas, one of Palocci's lawyers.
Tracy Reinaldet, another of Palocci's lawyers, said the agreement was made during the transition from Lula into former President Dilma Rousseff's first term. Palocci also served as Rousseff's chief of staff initially but was forced to resign due to corruption allegations.
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Ricardo Brito; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)