Brazil’s ex-speaker ejected for lying about $5M Swiss bank accounts

BRASILIA, Brazil, Sept. 13 (UPI) — Eduardo Cuhna, former speaker of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, has been expelled from his congressional post by an overwhelming vote of 450-10 for lying about suspicious Swiss bank accounts.

Cuhna, member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party who was a deputy for Rio de Janeiro, is accused of taking millions in bribes as part of the nationwide Petrobras corruption scandal and of lying about secret bank accounts in Switzerland. He denied he opened the bank accounts but Swiss authorities revealed their existence.

Cuhna’s expulsion from Brazil’s National Congress means he could now face arrest amid an investigation by the Supreme Federal Court. At least three businessmen have confessed to bribing Cuhna by depositing money in his overseas accounts.

“The Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies stripped, by 450 votes to 10, the deputy mandate away from Eduardo Cunha, accused of having lied in spontaneous testimony to the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry of Petrobras in May 2015, when he said not to have accounts abroad,” the Chamber of Deputies said in a statement. “Cunha denies he lied to the CPI, arguing that only the beneficiary was a family trust hired by him to manage his resources abroad.”

During the 2015 testimony, Cunha said he did not have “any type of account anywhere that is not declared on my income tax.” Swiss authorities later revealed to a Brazilian corruption inquiry that Cunha and his wife Claudia Cruz had about $5 million in Swiss bank accounts.

Cunha resigned as the lower house speaker — which in Brazil is called the Chamber of Deputies president — in July after being suspended in May. He is considered the architect that led the effort to remove former President Dilma Rousseff from the presidency through impeachment, as he also began the congressional process on the matter.

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