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Brazil's Cunha Indicted on Money Laundering, Currency Charges

  • Reuters

FILE - Brazil's suspended lower house speaker, Eduardo Cunha, listens to a questioner during an ethics committee hearing in parliament in Brasilia, May 19, 2016.

FILE - Brazil's suspended lower house speaker, Eduardo Cunha, listens to a questioner during an ethics committee hearing in parliament in Brasilia, May 19, 2016.

Brazil's Supreme Court on Wednesday indicted Eduardo Cunha, the suspended speaker of the lower house of Congress, on charges of money laundering and illegal currency dealing, dragging the powerful politician further into the sweeping scandal involving state-oil company Petrobras.

"There is concrete evidence that Deputy Eduardo Cunha received [illicit] funds," Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court justice overseeing the case, said in the ruling.

It was the second time charges had been accepted against Cunha in the so-called Car Wash investigation, which centers on kickbacks paid to politicians by construction companies working with Petrobras.

The move could increase the chance that Cunha will accept a plea deal, a scenario that concerns many in his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, to which interim President Michel Temer belongs.

Earlier this week, Cunha defiantly denied any criminal wrongdoing and said he would not resign despite the mounting charges against him.

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