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Police raid Brazil parliament speaker’s homes

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brazil mapBrazilian police on Tuesday raided the homes of the speaker of parliament — the key figure in the impeachment process launched against President Dilma Rousseff who himself faces allegations of corruption and lying to Congress.

Agents searched Eduardo Cunha’s homes in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro in the early morning hours, AFP photographers observed.

The operation by federal authorities took place in several Brazilian states as it targeted other politicians as well in order to prevent evidence from being destroyed by suspects, police said.

A total of 53 search warrants were to be carried out. Agents seized cell phones and computers. The raids were ordered by the Supreme Court.

Cunha, 57, stands accused of taking at least $5 million (4.5 million euros) in bribes as part of a massive embezzlement scandal at state oil company Petrobras, and of hiding money in Swiss accounts.

The influential right-wing politician is currently undergoing a disciplinary process in the lower house of parliament’s ethics board for allegedly having lied to his colleagues about accounts in Switzerland.

While spearheading the impeachment process against Rousseff, Cunha is accused of trying to delay the ethics probe, which could end his tenure in the house prematurely.

The government has long maneuvered to try to ensure that Cunha does not accept any of the growing pile of impeachment petitions lodged in Congress, while the formidable anti-Rousseff lobby has pressured him to proceed.


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