By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Supreme Court in Brazil has authorized the start of an investigation of House Speaker, Eduardo Cunha based on information given by Swiss authorities last week which point to the Speaker having Swiss bank accounts that may be linked to the Lava Jato (Car Wash) corruption scandal.
According to Cunha the latest investigation into his finances is ‘the solution and not the problem’, since now he may prepare his defense. “I became aware (of investigation) through the newspapers; I was not notified,” Cunha told reporters on Thursday afternoon. According to the Speaker he was already expecting some kind of investigation. “Every Thursday or Friday I expect a complaint,” he said cynically, “It has already become a routine.”
According to Swiss authorities Cunha and family members have Swiss bank accounts that were never disclosed to Brazilian authorities. Cunha has continuously denied having any foreign bank accounts. The investigation request was filed by Federal Prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, one of the prosecutors looking into the Lava Jato (Carwash) corruption scandal.
Prosecutors say Cunha demanded and received billions of dollars from companies to push through contracts with oil giant Petrobras. Congressional representatives have insisted that Cunha step down as Speaker, but the politician has refused. If there is definite proof of wrongdoing, opposition leaders are expected to file impeachment proceedings against the House Speaker.
This is the second investigation into Cunha by the Supreme Court. In August, Janot charged the Speaker with corruption and money laundering. These charges have not yet been ruled by the Court. In addition to his financial troubles, there are also rumors that Cunha has made a deal with the Rousseff Administration.
According to reports from daily Folha de S. Paulo, Cunha has negotiated with the government an agreement where he rejects requests of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, while government allies in Congress save the deputy’s mandate.