" --IANS"
Brasilia, May 11 - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appeared in court where he was questioned by the country's top anti-corruption judge over graft charges, the media reported.

He was closely questioned for five hours by Judge Sergio Moro on Wednesday in a courthouse in the city of Curitiba where thousands of the former leader's supporters gathered in a square nearby, the BBC reported.

Lula has rejected allegations that he received a luxurious beachfront apartment as a bribe in a corruption scandal linked to the state oil company, Petrobras.

This is the first of the five charges Lula is facing related to the Car Wash scandal, the nickname for Brazil's biggest ever corruption probe,.

However, he said the trial is politically motivated and has denied any wrongdoing.

If Lula is found guilty he will face a prison sentence. If cleared, he has said he will run again for the presidency.

Judge Moro is expected to give his verdict in 45 to 60 days.

Known throughout Brazil simply as Lula, he was the South American nation's most popular President during his tenure from 2003 to 2010, reports the BBC.

A former steel worker turned union leader, he came to office as the first left-wing leader in Brazil.

Unable to stand for a third consecutive term, he was succeeded by close ally Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached last year.

--IANS

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