Brazil’s suspended parliamentary leader faces additional charges

BRASILIA, Brazil, June 23 (UPI) — Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court has accepted more corruption charges against Eduardo Cuhna, the suspended parliament leader who began impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.

Cuhna, speaker of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, faces additional charges including money laundering and illegal currency dealing related to the $3.9 billion Petrobras scandal. He is accused of taking millions in bribes and of lying about a secret bank account in Switzerland.

“There is concrete evidence that Congressman Eduardo Cunha received funds,” high court judge Teori Zavascki said in the ruling.

Cuhna was suspended by the Supreme Federal Court in May following allegations he intimidated lawmakers and attempted to obstruct a corruption investigation for which he was indicted. He is considered more unpopular than embattled President Rousseff — who herself is suspended amid impeachment proceedings.

The new charges increase the chances Cuhna may enter a plea deal that could implicate others in his party, including interim President Michel Temer– who himself has also been linked to the scandal.

The Petrobras scandal, which has shaken both the government and the oil company and contributed to Brazil’s recession, has led to dozens of arrests of former and current Petrobras executives, as well as investigators of numerous government officials.

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