SAO PÃOLO – Eduardo Cunha, the once-powerful congressman that lead the trial against former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, was sentenced to 15 years in prison this Thursday, for his involvement in a vast network of corruption in the Brazilian company Petrobras.
Judge Sergio Moro declared Cunha guilty of corruption, tax evasion and money laundering, in relation to a contract between Petrobras and the African nation of of Benin, from which Cunha made 1.5 million dollars from 2011 to 2014 as the result of backroom deals.
The judge, who is seen as something of a hero in the fight against corruption, said that Cunha also tried to incriminate Brazil’s current president Michel Temer by requesting that he be a witness in the case, and then setting up a series of questions that would have harmed Temer.
The judge took a look at the questionnaire, and decided that the questions had nothing to do with the case, and were only intended to make Temer look bad.
“There is no greater trespass, than the one from a man who betrays his position, and the sacred confidence that the people place in him, for personal financial gains”, wrote the judge in his ruling.
The former congressman is in jail since October. His defense team said that they will appeal Moro’s ruling.
Cunha was the president of the Representative’s Chamber of Brazil when he began a case against Rousseff for manipulation of the fiscal budget.
Before that, Cunha led the charge that prevented the approval of key initiatives presented by Rousseff.
He was also a leading figure in his party’s decision to support the removal of the former president.
On April of 2016, Cunha voted in favor of removing Rousseff, the decision was approved by the lower chamber before being confirmed by the Senate. Vice-president Michel Temer became president in May.
Cunha and Temer were allies for most of their careers, but they drifted apart after the former congressman was jailed.