Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Cameroon's Constitutional Court rejects last petition for re-run

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Music stars, French art and a dead cat's renaissance

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Khashoggi Affair: Evidence mounts against Saudi Crown Prince

Read more

#TECH 24

Next stop space: Japanese company constructing nanotube 'space lift'

Read more

#THE 51%

The Gender Divide: Record number of women running in U.S. midterms

Read more

REPORTERS

Reporters: Brexit, a sea of uncertainty for fishermen

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Fishing in France's Grau du Roi harbour, a family tradition

Read more

FOCUS

French education reforms under tight scrutiny

Read more

ENCORE!

FIAC 2018: Paris's one-stop shop for Contemporary Art collectors

Read more

Americas

Brazil court hands ex-speaker Cunha 15 years in prison

© Heuler Andrey, AFP | Archival picture shows Brazil's former parliamentary speaker Eduardo Cunha escorted by police in Curitiba, on October 20, 2016.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-03-30

A federal court sentenced Brazil’s former speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, to more than 15 years in prison on Thursday for corruption, making him the highest-profile political conviction yet in the “Operation Car Wash” scandal.

The former politician’s defense team said they would appeal the decision but Cunha will remain imprisoned pending appeal.

Cunha, who drove the successful impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff, was forced from his position as speaker in July and arrested in October on accusations he received millions in bribes from the purchase of an oil field in Benin by state-run oil company Petrobras.

Over 200 people have been charged in the “Operation Car Wash” probe, a far-reaching investigation that centers on bribes and political kickbacks from contracts at Petrobras. The Supreme Court is likely to approve soon the investigation of dozens of sitting politicians.

In February 2015, Cunha, a member of President Michel Temer’s Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) that for a decade was the main member of left-leaning Workers Party (PT) governments, defied the wishes of his own coalition to run for and win the speakership of the lower house of Congress.

Just six months later, he officially broke with the PT government of Rousseff, saying that she was using the Petrobras investigation as a tool of “political persecution” against him.

As speaker, only Cunha could allow impeachment proceedings to begin against Rousseff, whom critics accused of breaking budgetary laws.

He did just that in December 2015, just hours after PT deputies cast deciding votes for him to face an investigation by the House’s ethics committee for lying about bank accounts he and his wife held in Switzerland.

By May, Rousseff was impeached and Temer installed as successor. But Cunha could not shake free of corruption allegations that eventually led to his downfall.

Once he was kicked out of congress, Cunha lost the privilege given to sitting politicians that only the badly overburdened Supreme Court can try them.

His case was instead sent to crusading anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro, who has been the driving force behind Brazil’s fight against graft. Moro has a reputation for plowing through cases efficiently, with over 98 percent of his convictions in Car Wash cases being upheld by higher courts.

Cunha faces another trial for allegedly receiving $5 million skimmed from Petrobras contracts for two drillships in 2006 and 2007.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2017-03-30

  • BRAZIL

    Brazil's Lula ordered to stand trial over corruption charges

    Read more

  • BRAZIL

    Brazil’s Senate votes to strip Dilma Rousseff of presidency

    Read more

  • BRAZIL

    Brazil arrests lawmaker who championed Rousseff's impeachment

    Read more

COMMENT(S)