Brazil's ex-Speaker Cunha expelled from Congress

The powerful former speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress, Eduardo Cunha, has lost his seat after an overwhelming vote by fellow members of Congress to eject him

The powerful former speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress, Eduardo Cunha, has lost his seat after an overwhelming vote by fellow members of Congress to eject him.

Mr Cunha had denied having millions of dollars hidden in Swiss bank accounts - said to be the proceeds of corruption.

But information from Swiss authorities proved the existence of the accounts.

Mr Cunha - seen as the architect of former president Dilma Rousseff's impeachment - could now face arrest.

Ms Rousseff was removed last month for moving funds between government budgets, which is illegal under Brazilian law.

During a bitter debate on Monday, Mr Cunha accused her supporters of seeking revenge against him.

The vote was seen as critical for the credibility of Congress and all eyes will now be on what Mr Cunha does next, the BBC's Wyre Davies in Brazil says.

He is also known as the "keeper of secrets" in Congress, where dozens of other politicians are also accused of fraud and has suggested he may cooperate with investigators into a wide ranging corruption scandal.

Swiss information
Mr Cunha is also being investigated by the Supreme Court for allegedly taking millions of dollars in bribes to secure contracts with state oil giant, Petrobras.

Petrobras is at the centre of a massive kickbacks scandal which cost the company $2bn (£1.5bn) and has led to the arrest of dozens of lawmakers and top businessmen.

At least three businessmen have said under interrogation that they paid bribes to Mr Cunha, which they deposited in his overseas accounts.

Along with his seat he has lost the partial immunity from prosecution that comes with being an elected representative.

In March 2015 Mr Cunha stated that he did not have "any type of account anywhere that is not declared on my income tax".

But authorities in Switzerland later gave information to a corruption inquiry in Brazil stating that Mr Cunha and his wife, Claudia Cruz, were beneficiaries of secret accounts worth about $5m (£3.7m).

BBC News |

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