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  • Eduardo Cunha gestures during his defense in an ethics committee hearing in the lower house, in Brasilia, Brazil, May 19, 2016.

    Eduardo Cunha gestures during his defense in an ethics committee hearing in the lower house, in Brasilia, Brazil, May 19, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Cunha, led an initiative painting the Rousseff impeachment process as a campaign to root out government corruption.

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

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"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 is the second time charges have 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 of Cunha taking a plea deal, a scenario that concerns many in his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, PMDB 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.

He presented a request for habeas corpus to the Supreme Court Monday.

Cunha was a key architect in painting the impeachment process as a campaign to root out government corruption despite himself facing multi-million dollar bribery and fraud charges. He was suspended from his position as chief of the lower house by the Supreme Court last month over accusations of intimidating lawmakers and hampering investigations.


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