RIO DE JANEIRO, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The former president of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha was sentenced to 15 years and 4 months imprisonment on Thursday for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.
It caps a startling fall from power for one of Brazil's most polarizing politicians who began the impeachment campaign which ultimately ousted former president Dilma Rousseff in August 2016.
Federal judge Sergio Moro, who oversees cases related to the Petrobras corruption ring, accepted the charges presented by the prosecutor-general against Cunha, who was accused of receiving 1.5 million U.S. dollars in bribes to facilitate a Petrobras oil exploration contract in Benin.
Cunha, 58, is a member of President Michel Temer's ruling Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB). He was president of the Chamber of Deputies from February 2015 until July 2016, when he stepped down due to corruption accusations against him.
In that role, he declared his opposition to Rousseff and began proceedings to impeach her.
A religious conservative, Cunha had been arrested in October on charges of corruption related to the Petrobras investigation.
In September 2016, the Chamber of Deputies ousted him from his seat for having lied under oath about having bank accounts outside Brazil. Swiss authorities discovered bank accounts with millions of dollars in Cunha's name and turned the information over to Brazil.
This is the first sentence against Cunha, one of hundreds of Brazilian politicians linked to the Petrobras corruption ring.