March 30 (UPI) — 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.
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.
Cunha has maintained his innocence and pledged to appeal the judge’s ruling. He has been in custody since October.