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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Arrested last month in Operação Lava Jato (Carwash), former Speaker of the House, Eduardo Cunha, included in his defense witness list current Brazil President Michel Temer and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as well as other former high-ranking government officials.

Brazil,During several moments Cunha was on the verge of tears as he announced his resignation,
Former Speaker of the House, Eduardo Cunha, was arrested in Brasilia in October, charged with corruption, photo by Jose Cruz, Agencia Brasil.

The former Speaker is accused of receiving kickbacks in Benin, Africa from oil exploration contracts set with Petrobras and of having lied to a Congressional committee when he stated that neither he nor any family members held Swiss bank accounts.

According to the document filed by Cunha’s lawyers this week, 22 witnesses were included in the legal process including former Tourism minister, Henrique Alves, businessman José Carlos Bumlai, former director of Petrobras, Nestor Cervero, and former senator Amaral Delcídio.

Cunha’s defense attorneys reject all of the complaints lodged against the former lawmaker saying there is no concrete proof that Cunha committed illegal acts. According to prosecutors, Cunha received R$5 million in bribes related to contracts in Benin, Africa and deposited the amount in a Swiss bank account.

An arrest warrant was issued in October and the former Speaker was consequently arrested and sent to a holding sell in Curitiba because prosecutors feared that after his impeachment as a Congressional representative, Cunha would flee the country, since he has dual nationality (Brazilian and Italian).

“[There is] risk to the process proceedings, public order, as well as a concrete possibility of flight due to the availability of hidden funds abroad, in addition to dual nationality,” said prosecutors justifying the October 19th arrest.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Do not underestimate former Speaker of the House, Eduardo Cunha! if nothing else he is intelligent and more shrewd than most people think.

    The calling of 22 witnesses including Tourism minister, Henrique Alves, businessman José Carlos Bumlai, former director of Petrobras, Nestor Cervero, former senator Amaral Delcídio, as well as President Temer and Lula, as defence witnesses, is a smart move.

    There will be a lot of people feeling more nervous than before and maneuvering for the best position to cut a deal with federal prosecutors. Mr Cunha has a lot of information and damaging evidence against many, many, politicians and corrupt officials. Only he knows how much.

    If President Temer and Lulu ever get into the witness stand, every word they say will be analyzed and critiqued. President Temer needs stability to consolidate his mandate and silence his critics. His testimony is vital to his own political future and his legacy.

    On the other hand, how many people is Lula willing to throw under the bus to stave off his own destiny with Senhora Justiça?

    The tightly sewn tapestry of the PT regime is unraveling, thread by thread, rat by rat. There is an old saying, “Honour Among Thieves”. That is yet to be seen. Sergio Morro and his team will certainly push the boundaries of this adage. These are interesting times in Brazil!

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