Ouster of Brazil lawmaker could open political Pandora's box

The former speaker in the Brazilian lower house congress, Eduardo Cunha, is expelled from the chamber for corruption on Monday.

Michel Temer, who came to power in last month's legislative coup against elected Workers Party (PT) President Dilma Rousseff, described the decimation of public ownership as an "extraordinary opening", of Brazil's infrastructure.

In a dramatic fall from grace, Eduardo Cunha saw the lower house over which he presided up until May vote 450 to 10 to strip him of his mandate and ban him from public office until 2027.

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.

"I declare lawmaker Eduardo Cunha stripped of office for conduct incompatible with lawmakers' duties", said the decision read out at the conclusion of the late-night session. Many of those under scrutiny belong to Temer's party.

Prosecutors accuse Cunha of corruption and money laundering for his role in negotiating Petrobras contracts for drill ships and say he received an illegal payment of $5 million. Swiss authorities have confirmed he has $1.4-million in accounts in that country, a charge that he continued to deny on Monday.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - The ouster of once powerful lawmaker Eduardo Cunha poses a threat to other politicians, potentially including Brazil's new president. Defending himself, he said he was 'paying the...

With the loss of his congressional seat, Cunha also loses his partial immunity from prosecution. But his fellow lawmakers were deciding only on whether he lied about having secret banking accounts in Switzerland.

Now the corruption allegations against him will be investigated by a lower court judge seen as harsher than the top court, which was dealing with the cases until now.

Prosecutors have alleged that Cunha is one of those tied to the Petrobras scandal, in which more than $2 billion in bribes was purportedly paid to obtain inflated contracts from the energy company.

That led to a game of brinkmanship with Ms Rousseff that has now ended with both politicians kicked out of office. AP material published by LongIsland.com, is done so with explicit permission. Doing so may result in civil and/or criminal penalties.

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