BRASILIA, Brazil, Aug. 21 (UPI) — Eduardo Cuhna, one of Brazil’s most powerful political figures, was indicted on corruption charges.
Prosecutors claim Cunha, 56, the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Brazil’s lower house of Congress, was part of a money-laundering scheme, an adjunct of a graft system at Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company. A Petrobras contacted testified in July Cunha asked for and received a $5 million kickback.
The charges come as Cunha, a former evangelical Christian radio commentator who split from President Dilma Rousseff‘s governing coalition, has a key role in deciding whether Rousseff should face impeachment proceedings on corruption issues of her own.
Cunha, an outspoken critic of Rousseff, has denied the charges, and said earlier this week he would not resign his congressional position.
The Petrobras scandal, which has shaken both the government and the oil company and contributed to Brazil’s recession, has led to the dozens of arrests of former and current Petrobras executives, as well as investigators of numerous government officials.