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Eduardo Cunha

For the Brazilian press, Eduardo Cunha is one of the most influential politicians. Cunha, a member of Brazil's largest political party, is an avowed foe of President Dilma Rousseff. Cunha quit President Dilma Rousseff's coalition in July 2015 to join opposition lawmakers seeking her impeachment and has obstructed Rousseff's efforts to cut Brazil's gaping fiscal deficit by passing more spending bills.

More than once Cunha has been likened to Brazil’s answer to Frank Underwood, the scheming character at the center of the dark Netflix political series ‘House of Cards’. But Cunha is not flattered. The fictional US president “is a thief, a homosexual and a murderer”, he said. “And I’m not.”

Eduardo Cosentino da Cunha, or simply Congressman Eduardo Cunha, president of the Chamber of Deputies, is recognized as one of the most active MPs of the Brazilian Congress. Before joining political career, he was a senior executive in the telecommunications area, responsible for the deployment of mobile telephony in Brazil, when he was the president of Telerj, former operator of the Telebras System, in Rio de Janeiro between 1991 and 1993.

His political career spans more than a decade. He was elected State Representative in 2001, on the PPB slate. In 2002 he was elected Congressman also the PPB and in 2006 was re-elected federal deputy for the PMDB. His biggest electoral achievement came in 2010 when, for the PMDB, was the fifth most voted federal deputy of the State of Rio de Janeiro, with 150,616 votes. In 2014, Eduardo Cunha was the third most voted federal deputy from Rio, with 232,708 votes.

As political operator, Eduardo Cunha circulates in all committees of the House, where he was Chairman of the Committee on Constitution, Justice and Citizenship (CCJC) and Finance and Taxation Board. He was leader of the PMDB, between February 2013 and February 2015, when he was elected mayor.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1958, Eduardo Cunha is radio, evangelical, married and father of four. Economist, graduated from Universidade Cândido Mendes, he worked in the audit Arthur Andersen between 1978 and 1980 and Xerox from 1980 to 1982. He was President of CEHAB (State Housing Company of Rio de Janeiro) in 1999, where he built thousands popular houses and renovated dozens of housing complexes.

Brazilian prosecutors have charged Cunha with corruption in connection with an investigation into a massive kickback scheme involving contracts with state-run oil company Petrobras. Cunha has denied allegations that he took a $5 million bribe. He also denied having a bank account abroad before a congressional hearing into the Petrobras scandal, but Swiss authorities provided Brazilian prosecutors with details of accounts he and his wife held at Julius Baer bank, plus details of lavish credit card expenses.

Brazilian lawmakers almost came to blows on December 10, 2015 in a heated committee hearing that failed for a sixth time to decide whether to investigate lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha for lying about his bank accounts in Switzerland. Tempers frayed when Cunha's opponents on the committee called for a plenary vote in the lower house to remove Cunha as speaker, amid mounting frustration at what his critics say is his use of bureaucratic trickery to obstruct its hearings.

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