Eduardo Cunha, the head of Brazil’s lower house, allegedly received kickbacks stemming from a Petrobras contract in Africa, Folha de S. Paulo reported Saturday, citing documents sent by the Swiss public prosecutor to local authorities.
As head of the lower house, Cunha has the power to accept or reject impeachment requests that can be filed by any citizen. Cunha spearheaded some of the government’s main defeats in Congress this year and declared himself a member of the opposition in July, even though his party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement, belongs to the ruling coalition.
Cunha’s attorneys say that they haven’t been informed or had access to any investigation related to their client, according to a statement posted on Cunha’s Web page. Cunha finds it odd that information protected by secrecy laws in Brazil is being leaked to the press, the statement says.
The kickbacks were deposited in accounts in a European country that were allegedly linked to Cunha and his wife Claudia Cruz, the Sao Paulo-based newspaper reported. Part of the money was funneled from a $34.5 million contract signed by state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA to buy an oil field in Benin, Folha says.