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Brazil speaker in corruption scandal won’t resign

CorruptionThe speaker of Brazil’s lower house of congress defiantly vowed not to resign Friday, a day after being charged in a massive corruption scandal.

“Resignation is not a word that is part of my vocabulary and it won’t be, you can be sure of that. Nor is cowardice,” Eduardo Cunha said in Brazil’s biggest city Sao Paulo, declaring himself innocent of any wrongdoing.

“There is no chance of me not continuing… until the end of my mandate,” he said.

Cunha, speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, was alleged Thursday to have taken at least $5 million in bribes as part of a sprawling kickbacks scheme centered on state oil company Petrobras.

Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot filed charges that Cunha received payoffs relating to contracts to build two drilling vessels for Petrobras. He is accused of corruption and money laundering.

The Supreme Court, which considers charges against federal politicians, will decide whether the case should go to trial.

Cunha has risen to prominence as a key player in threats to impeach embattled leftist President Dilma Rousseff.

The charges against him are expected to weaken his hand but also possibly set the stage for a new round of political intrigue as he tries to hold on to his post.



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