By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Suspended Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies in Brazil, Eduardo Cunha, reiterated to reporters on Tuesday that he will not resign his position in the Congressional Lower House and said that he will not seek a plea-bargain agreement with federal prosecutors.
“I will not resign and I do not have anything to plea-bargain with. I did not commit a crime,” said Cunha during his first press conference since being suspended from his legislative duties, more than a month ago.
Last week the Chamber’s Ethics Committee voted eleven to nine to oust him from the legislative body claiming he lied in a Congressional hearing investigating the Petrobras scandal. At that hearing denied having foreign bank accounts, fact which was later disproved by Swiss authorities, who stated that Cunha, his wife and his daughter had active Swiss bank accounts.
Although Cunha has denied he is the owner of a foreign bank account, he has admitted he is the beneficiary of a trust fund, set up in Switzerland, which he himself created.
The day after the Chamber vote, Brazilian federal prosecutors investigating the Lava Jato (Carwash) mega-corruption scandal asked a federal court to revoke Cunha’s political rights for ten years in addition to demanding the return of approximately R$20 million in assets he has abroad but did not declare to Brazil’s Revenue Service.
While Cunha spoke to reporters in one of the most famous hotels in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Hotel Nacional, dozens of demonstrators protested outside.
For Cunha to permanently lose his Congressional seat, the issue has to go before the Chamber plenary and at least 257 of the 513 representatives will need to approve it.