Brazilian speaker, ex-president charged for corruption

Updated: 2015-08-21 11:50


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Brazilian speaker, ex-president charged for corruption

Brazil's prosecutor-general Rodrigo Janot reacts during an administrative session in the Attorney General's Office in Brasilia March 3, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The Brazilian general prosecutor formally lay corruption charges against the speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, and former President Fernando Collor de Mello.

General Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot presented the charges to the highest Supreme Federal Court (STF) as the two men have a measure of immunity granted by the political positions they hold, according to a press release.

Janot accused Cunha and Collor of passive corruption and money laundering within the Petrobras corruption ring, in which over fifty politicians have seen their involvement revealed.

Cunha, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, has been accused by former Petrobras consultant Julio Camargo of having received around five million dollars in bribes between June 2006 and October 2012 for interfering in a Petrobras drillship contract.

Furthermore, the prosecutor identified suspicious transfers, in the guise of donations, made to an evangelical church with political links to Cunha, a member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), the main ally of the government.

On Wednesday, Cunha denied that he would be resign from his position due to the investigation, although a movement to oust him has been gaining traction in the Chamber.

Collor, a current senator for the Workers' Party and president from 1990 to 1992 before being impeached for corruption, is accused of having received embezzled funds from Petrobras between 2010 and 2014, and to have presided over a "sophisticated money laundering system" through various companies which he owns or is a partner in.

Collor's companies, offices and homes were raided by police in the last month. The documents and items seized led Janot to press charges against the senator.

Besides, Solange Almeida, former deputy and current mayor of Rio Bonito near Rio de Janeiro, and Pedro Paulo Leoni Ramos, former minister of strategic affairs, were also charged. Both are known to be close associates of Collor.