Brazil’s Key Political Figures Face Corruption Charges

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Brazilian prosecutors have lodged corruption charges against the speaker of the lower house – a key figure in the country’s current political crisis – and also against a former president. Eduardo Cunha, speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, was alleged on Thursday to have taken at least $5m in bribes as part of a kickbacks scheme centred on state oil company Petrobras. Aljazeera reports:

Rodrigo Janot, Brazil’s prosecutor general, alleged that Cunha received bribes relating to contracts to build two drilling vessels for Petrobras.  He is accused of corruption and money laundering. He said $80m in fines and restitution had to be paid back in Cunha’s case.

Cunha maintained his innocence, saying he was “relieved” that the case would go to court, and said he will not resign. “I will continue to perform [the duties] that I was elected to do by a majority of the chamber. I am completely at peace with that,” he said. Fernando Collor de Mello, a former president who left office in 1992 in another corruption scandal before returning to politics as a senator, was also charged in connection with the Petrobras scheme.

The Supreme Court, which handles all cases involving federal politicians, confirmed that charges had been filed against Collor, but no details were provided. Police raided Collor’s house in July and confiscated a Ferrari, a Porsche and Lamborghini luxury car.