Eduardo Cunha, the suspended speaker of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies, reiterated he was not lying when he said, during a hearing of the congressional committee of investigation on Petrobras in May 2015, that no bank accounts were registered under his name overseas. He was heard today (May 19) in connection with charges of breach of decorum filed against him with the lower house council of ethics.
Cunha claims his interest in a trust must not be deemed assets, but rather “a right imminently to be enforced”.
He stressed: “No evidence whatsoever has emerged that proves ownership of bank accounts on my part. I concealed the existence of the trust to no one. This is no property that belongs to me. I am not, nor have I ever been, the one allowed to operate it. Calling it a bank account like any other—where you sign checks and withdraw money, or has the bank sign your [payment] order—is outrageous.”
Cunha denied that interest in a trust should be declared in the income tax return, which allegedly debunks the argument that he kept the property hidden. “I can't be held accountable for concealing property that's not under my ownership,” he argued. “I own no accounts that have not been declared in my income tax return,” he added.
Shortly after the beginning of his testimony, Cunha said he would only answer questions related to the nature of his defense. “In case of any nature other than that of my defense, a response of a public nature has already been given by either me or my counsel,” the suspended speaker of the lower house said.
He did have to provide clarifications, however, regarding having benefited from amounts transferred from overseas by business executive Ricardo Pernambuco Júnior, from the firm Carioca Engenharia.
In a plea bargain statement heard by the Prosecutor-General's Office under Operation Car Wash, Pernambuco told investigators he made deposits adding up to $4 million, stemming from bribes benefiting Cunha.
The transactions are dated August 2011 through September 2014 as part of a scheme encompassing firms involved in the construction works of the Porto Maravilha project, in Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco claims.
“I hope the Public Prosecution Service may gain access to the details of the accounts so that it can become clear that I have nothing to do with any of these accounts mentioned by Mr. Pernambuco, and I challenge everyone to prove [it],” the congressman said.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.