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Swiss Dossier Links Petrobras Bribe Money to Accounts Belonging to Brazil's Speaker

10/13/2015 - 10h16



A dossier submitted by the Swiss Attorney General's Office to the Prosecutor General of Brazil suggests that bribes paid in relation to a Petrobras project in Africa in 2011 ended up in secret bank accounts belonging to the president of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha (PMDB - Rio de Janeiro) and his wife, the journalist Claudia Cruz.

Following the trail of the money, the documents show that Cruz spent US$1.09 million on personal expenses in seven years, including two credit card bills and a course at Nick Bollettieri's famous tennis academy in Florida, which has trained top players such as Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and the Williams sisters.

According to investigators, part of the money manipulated by Cunha comes from a contract of US$34.5 million signed by Petrobras for the purchase of exploration rights to an oil field in Benin.

The documents suggest that the lobbyist João Augusto Henriques, who helped to negotiate the deal in Benin, transferred 1.3 million Swiss francs to one of the accounts allegedly controlled by Cunha, between May 30 and June 23 of 2011.

The deposits were made three months after Petrobras sealed the deal in Benin. Identified as one of the PMDB's agents in the Petrobras corruption scheme, Henriques has been in police custody in Curitiba since September.

The Swiss found four accounts allegedly controlled by Cunha and his wife. The documents indicate that in adjusted terms, R$31.2 million (US$8.3 million) entered these accounts between 2007 and 2015, with R$15.8 million (US$4.2 million) exiting them over the same period.


Cunha's press secretary published a statement from his lawyers, questioning the publication of information from secret investigations.

In the text, the lawyers suggest that Rodrigo Janot, the Prosecutor General, participated in the leak. Cunha has been a vocal critic of Janot, and claims that the investigations are politically motivated.

The statement made no reference to any of the allegations about secret accounts in Switzerland belonging to Cunha or any of his family members.

Cunha denies having bank accounts located abroad and says he "is ignorant of the content of the allegations published."

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Zanone Fraissat - 27.mar.2015/Folhapress
President of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, and his wife, the journalist Claudia Cruz
President of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, and his wife, the journalist Claudia Cruz

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