RIO DE JANEIRO – Demonstrators on Thursday urged former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, arrested this week on corruption charges, to tell authorities everything he knows about graft in Brazilian politics and identify the guilty parties.
“Give up everybody,” chanted a group of protesters waiting for the once-powerful lawmaker outside the medical examiner’s office in the southern city of Curitiba, where police took Cunha for a routine post-arrest physical.
The Brazilian media is full of speculation about the tales Cunha might tell if he decides to cut a deal with prosecutors.
Those accounts suggest the erstwhile kingmaker could incriminate dozens of lawmakers and even Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, who was sworn-in Aug. 31 after the Senate voted to oust elected head of state Dilma Rousseff.
As speaker of the lower house, Cunha, Temer’s colleague in the PMDB party, accepted for consideration a proposal to impeach Rousseff over alleged budget irregularities.
Like more than half the members of Congress, Cunha was himself under investigation at the time he authorized the move to impeach Rousseff, who has never been accused of any personal financial improprieties.
Cunha was taken into custody Wednesday at his Brasilia residence on the order of federal Judge Sergio Moro, who heads the investigation into a $2 billion corruption scandal centered on state oil company Petrobras.
Police then transferred the prisoner to Curitiba, the hub of the Petrobras investigation.
The former house speaker is charged with accepting $5 million in bribes from companies implicated in the Petrobras case.
Authorities opened three separate probes of Cunha’s conduct after the Swiss government confirmed that he deposited millions of dollars in bank accounts in the European nation.
Though Cunha has said he has no intention of seeking a plea bargain, he recently revealed he is writing a book that will name politicians who finance their campaigns with tainted money.