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Brazil Speaker Eduardo Cunha Admits to Allies that He Controls Swiss Bank Accounts

11/05/2015 - 09h51

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RANIER BRAGON
FROM BRASÍLIA

The target of a case to remove him from office, and accused of involvement with the corruption scandal at Petrobras, Eduardo Cunha, president of Brazil's lower house of Congress, has revealed to some of his allies details of his defense, which he intends to make public.

Cunha is due to admit that he is indeed responsible for secret bank accounts attributed to him by the Swiss attorney general.

Folha interviewed various congressmen who have spoken with Cunha in recent days. He told them that he would insist he did not lie to the Petrobras Parliamentary Inquiry (CPI) in March, when he claimed he did not own any foreign accounts.

The documents Switzerland sent to Brazil reveal that Cunha's accounts are run by companies and trusts that he controls, with he and his family as the beneficiaries.

He said to his allies that he did not lie to the CPI, because he was asked if the accounts were in his name, when in fact they are in the name of companies that he opened outside Brazil.

Cunha's allies have expressed discreet reservations about the argument, as there is no doubt that Cunha was the owner and recipient of the money which passed through these secret accounts.

Being caught lying to Congress is considered a good reason for removal from office in Brazilian political culture, but such a punishment is not part of official congressional regulation.

According to his allies, Cunha will say that the money derives from legitimate business interests he had in the 1980s and 1990s, before he went into politics, and that his only mistake was not declaring the money until today.

On Wednesday (4), a day after the official opening of the case for his removal from office, Cunha was the target of a protest as he gave a press conference in the Green Room at Congress.

An activist from the Popular Youth Uprising, Tiago Ferreira, 26, threw a handful of false banknotes at Cunha, shouting "They brought your order from Switzerland!".

The banknotes had Cunha's face printed on them.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Lula Marques/Agência PT
Eduardo Cunha stands by fake dollar notes with his effigy thrown by protesters during an interview at the National Congress
Eduardo Cunha stands by fake dollar notes with his effigy thrown by protesters during an interview at the National Congress

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