By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Swiss authorities have handed over information to Brazil’s General Attorney’s Office showing that the Speaker of Brazil’s House of Representatives, Eduardo Cunha and some family members have Swiss bank accounts which may be linked to the Lava Jato (Carwash) mega-corruption scandal. According to Brazilian officials, Cunha will now be investigated for money laundering and corruption.
“The information of Switzerland’s General Attorney’s Office show bank accounts in both Cunha’s and family members’ names. The investigation there (Switzerland) started in April of this year and the assets in the accounts have been blocked,” said Brazil’s General Attorney’s Office on Wednesday.
Last week one of the accused of the Lava Jato corruption scheme at Petrobras, João Augusto Rezende Henriques, told in his deposition to the Federal Police that he had made a money transfer to Cunha’s Swiss account. According to Henriques, he has never met the Speaker personally and did not know beforehand the owner of the bank account.
This disclosure comes months after former consultant, Julio Camargo, which worked for a company doing business with Petrobras revealed to prosecutors that Cunha had pressured him into paying bribes worth ten million dollars for contracts with Petrobras. In August of 2015 Brazil’s General Attorney Rodrigo Janot delivered to the Supreme Court documents that showed that Cunha had asked for US$5 million to help a company obtain contracts to construct drilling vessels for Petrobras’ oil and gas operations.
Asked by reporters about the latest accusations of owning Swiss bank accounts, Cunha, who is from the PMDB party, stated he would not comment. “My spokesperson is my lawyer. There is nothing to say. I will not say anything, I will not spend all day commenting on this [accusation],” stated Cunha.