Eduardo Cunha

This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Consentino and the second or paternal family name is Cunha.
Eduardo Cunha
President of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
1 February 2015  7 July 2016
Preceded by Henrique Eduardo Alves
Succeeded by Waldir Maranhão (Acting)
Personal details
Born Eduardo Cosentino da Cunha
(1958-09-29) 29 September 1958
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Political party Progressive Party (1994–2003)
Brazilian Democratic
Movement Party
Spouse(s) Cristina Bastos Dytz (Divorced)
Cláudia Cruz
Children 4
Alma mater Cândido Mendes University
Religion Evangelicalism

Eduardo Cosentino da Cunha (born September 29, 1958), is a Brazilian politician and radio host, born in Rio de Janeiro. He was President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil from 2015 to 2016, when he resigned the position. BBC News labeled him as the "nemesis" of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.[1] He has been indicted in the scandal known as Operation Car Wash involving the state-owned oil company Petrobras.[2] Cunha was suspended as speaker of the lower house by Brazil's Supreme Court on 5 May 2016 due to allegations that he attempted to intimidate members of Congress, and obstructed investigations into his alleged receipt of bribes.[3][4][5] The Chamber of Deputies voted 450-10 on 12 September 2016 to strip Cunha of his position as federal deputy due to breaching of parliamentary decorum by lying about secret offshore bank accounts.[6] On October 19, 2016 Cunha was arrested by the Brazilian Federal Police.[7] He was accused of taking approximately US$40 million in bribes and hiding funds in a secret bank accounts.[8]

Personal life

Born in Rio de Janeiro, on September 29, 1958, Eduardo Cunha is the son of Elcy Teixeira da Cunha and Elza Cosentino. As his mother descended from Italian immigrants from the town of Castelluccio Inferiore in the region of Basilicata, he also holds Italian citizenship.[9] When he was 14 years old, he began working part time as an insurance broker. Later, he worked as an auditor, at the firm Arthur Andersen, from 1978 to 1980. He majored in economics from the Universidade Candido Mendes, and served as an economist at Xerox of Brazil, between 1980 and 1982.[10]

Cunha has four children. He is currently married to journalist Cláudia Cruz.

Political views

Eduardo Cunha is a conservative evangelical Christian. He seeks to have abortions banned, marijuana penalties increased, and further restrictions on homosexual activity. As an evangelist, Cunha has proposed legislation, titled The Law of Heterophobia (in response to the Law of Homophobia). The law demands a prison sentence of one to three years for anyone who forbids entry to a heterosexual in any public or private property, levies special rates at hotels or restricts the public display of affection.[11]

Political career

Elections with PDS and PMDB

His first contact with politics was working on the campaigns of Eliseu Resende, a candidate for state government with the Social Democratic Party (PDS) in the 1982 election, and Moreira Franco, a candidate for Rio de Janeiro government with the PMDB, in the 1986 election.[10]

First scandal (2001)

When Anthony Garotinho was elected Governor of Rio de Janeiro in 1999, he appointed Francisco Silva as the Secretary of Housing (with Cunha appointed as Sub-Secretary). However, Cunha was in office for just over six months, where he was forced to resign due to allegations of irregularities in no-bid contracts and favoring shell companies.[12] Then 2001, the State Audit Court confirmed that there were various irregularities in the bids of these shell companies, including the adulteration of the clearance certificate from state taxes.[12]

State Representative (2001-2002)

Thanks to the effort of the governor Anthony Garotinho, Cunha assumed a state representative vacancy in ALERJ, in 2001, which guaranteed him immunity against the Public Prosecutor's investigations. He was, then, elected with 101,495 votes in the follow-up campaign.[13]

Federal Representative (2003-Present)

Cunha holds a joint press conference with the President of the Federal Senate, Renan Calheiros, and other Congress members, 21 May 2015.

Cunha joined the Chamber of Deputies on 1 February 2003 representing Rio de Janeiro. He was elected in the 2006 elections to the office of the House, with 130,773 votes. He was re-elected again in 2010, through the PMDB with 150,616 votes.[13] Through the TSE (Brazilian Election Commission)) page, the deputy claimed to have received R$4.76 million in donations for the 2010 campaign, of which R$500,000 came from the construction company Camargo Corrêa.[14]

In 2013, he was elected leader of the PMDB in the House. The following year, there was a criminal complaint filed in the Supreme Federal Court against fellow Congressman (and former governor) Anthony Garotinho (PR-RJ) for libel and defamation. On his blog Garotinho referred to Cunha as a "deputy lobbyist". House aides and lobbyists with access to PMDB parliamentarians reported that Eduardo Cunha recorded on an agenda a list of companies - mainly linked to energy, telecommunications and construction - who benefited from parliamentary action. Later that year, he was re-elected for another term, obtaining 232,708 votes (the third most votes received in the State of Rio de Janeiro).[13]

Second scandal (2015)

Cunha was indicted in Operação Lava Jato (operation car wash), the scandal involving the state-owned oil company Petrobras. The prosecutors claim that he "took as much as US$40 million in bribes for himself and his allies, plundering Petrobras, the government-controlled oil company, while laundering money through an evangelical megachurch."[2] For the crimes, "prosecutors are requesting a potential sentence of 184 years in prison if the Supreme Court puts him on trial and convicts him."[2] During this period, Cunha provided political leadership to the movement to impeach President Dilma Rousseff on corruption charges relating to manipulating figures reported in government accounts. He was suspended from duty as speaker of the Lower House by Brazil's supreme court on the 5th May 2016, because of allegations of attempting to intimidate members of congress, and obstructing the ongoing Lava Jato investigation into his alleged bribe-taking.[3][4] In September 2016 the lower house voted with a large majority to strip Cunha of his seat in the lower house and to ban him from politics for eight years.[15]


  1. Wyre Davies BBC News Rousseff's woes worsen as Brazil's protesters smell blood 17 August 2015
  2. 1 2 3 Romero, Simon (2015-08-21). "Expanding Web of Scandal in Brazil Threatens Further Upheaval". New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  3. 1 2
  4. 1 2
  5. Cunha explicou suposta venda de casa para traficante. O Globo.
  6. Romero, Simon. "Brazil's Congress Expels Lawmaker Who Led Ouster of President -". Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  7. "Brazil's former House speaker Eduardo Cunha arrested in corruption invedtigation". Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  8. "Brazil arrests top lawmaker behind impeachment of former president Rousseff: Police". Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  9. Revista Veja (16 December 2015). "PF apreende cópia de 'passaporte italiano' de Eduardo Cunha". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  10. 1 2 "Biography of Representatives".
  11. Salvador, Susana (09/04/2010). "The Defender of Heterosexuals". DN Gente. Check date values in: |date= (help);
  12. 1 2 "Garotinho afasta presidente da Cehab". Folha de SP. Folha de SP. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  13. 1 2 3 "Election Results". Federal Election Commission.
  14. "Campaign Financial Disclosures". Federal Election Commission.
  15. Brazil's former speaker Cunha banned from politics for eight years over Swiss accounts. Deutsche Welle, 2016-09-13

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Henrique Eduardo Alves
President of the Chamber of Deputies
Succeeded by
Waldir Maranhão
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