World

Brazil judge OKs questioning of ex-President Silva in Petrobras kickback scandal investigation

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2015 file photo, workers whose company is contracted by Brazil's government-run oil company Petrobras throw their work uniforms at Petrobras headquarters to protest corruption, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Petrobras was accused by federal prosecutors of the biggest corruption scheme in Brazil’s history in 2014, in allegations that at least $2 billion in bribes were paid out over about a decade. Several top officers resigned and even pulled leading politicians into ongoing investigations. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2015 file photo, workers whose company is contracted by Brazil's government-run oil company Petrobras throw their work uniforms at Petrobras headquarters to protest corruption, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Petrobras was accused by federal prosecutors of the biggest corruption scheme in Brazil’s history in 2014, in allegations that at least $2 billion in bribes were paid out over about a decade. Several top officers resigned and even pulled leading politicians into ongoing investigations. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, File)  (The Associated Press)

A judge in Brazil's Supreme Court has ruled that federal police may question former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as a witness in their investigation of a kickback scandal that has engulfed the state-owned oil company Petrobras.

The ruling Friday came on a request filed by investigators Sept. 11. Under Brazilian law, all federal politicians and some at other levels can be investigated only if the Supreme Court approves the inquiry.

Prosecutors allege that over $2 billion was paid in bribes by businessmen to obtain Petrobras contracts, projects that then subsequently ballooned in costs.

Justice Teori Zavascki said in his decision that Silva is to be heard as an "informant."