Brazil’s ex-president denies trying to obstruct graft probe

Brazil’s former president denied in court on Tuesday that he was part of a plot to impede a massive corruption probe and likened the barrage of media attention surrounding the charges against him to a “massacre.”

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is accused, along with several others, of plotting to buy off or otherwise prevent a former state oil company executive from revealing what he knew. Silva testified that he even didn’t know the former Petrobras director, Nestor Cervero, and never had contact with him.

“I have absolutely no reason to have any problem with the testimony of Cervero,” Silva said, according to a video provided by the court. “No reason at all. I don’t know (him).”

State oil giant Petrobras is at the center of a wide-ranging investigation into kickbacks and inflated contracts at state companies. The probe has ensnared scores of high-level politicians and executives. Cervero was convicted in connection with the probe and is cooperating with prosecutors.

At the beginning of nearly an hour of testimony, Silva was asked if he was familiar with the…