Former Brazil House speaker gets 15 years in prison

Edurdo Cunha, the Brazilian lawmaker who spearheaded the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday after his own corruption scandal.

Former Brazilian House Speaker Eduardo Cunha arrives to court in Curitiba, Brazil. Cunha was sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption involving state-run oil company Petrobras. The former politician led the impeachment proceeding against former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. File photo by EPA
Former Brazilian House Speaker Eduardo Cunha arrives to court in Curitiba, Brazil. Cunha was sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption involving state-run oil company Petrobras. The former politician led the impeachment proceeding against former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. File photo by EPA

Cunha, 58, was found guilty of accepting the hiding more than $1.5 million in bribes from Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobas. As the speaker of Brazil’s House, Cunha had a key role in the sprawling investigation into bribes and kickbacks paid out by Petrobas to lawmakers from private companies seeking government contracts. The investigation, dubbed Operation Car Wash, ensnared Rousseff and several other lawmakers — and eventually Cunha himself.

A judge said he took the money and laundered it in a Swiss bank account where he kept it hidden until investigators tracked it down. He was removed from the Brazilian Congress by an overwhelming vote of lawmakers last year after the Supreme Court approved a request by the attorney general to open an investigation into Cunha relating to Petrobas.

By Eric DuVall