UPDATE 1-Brazil Speaker Cunha to be probed by ethics committee

martes 15 de diciembre de 2015 12:01 GYT

(Adds details of police raid, political context, quote from lawmaker)

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA Dec 15 (Reuters) - Brazil's lower house of Congress will investigate Speaker Eduardo Cunha for lying about Swiss bank accounts, its ethics committee decided on Tuesday, dealing the second blow of the day to the man who launched impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.

Earlier on Tuesday, police raided Cunha's homes as part of a corruption investigation into kickbacks on contracts at state-run oil company Petrobras.

The speaker is fighting for political survival in the face of calls for his resignation and multiple investigations for taking bribes, including a recent accusation that he received 45 million reais ($12 million) from investment bank Grupo BTG Pactual.

The house ethics committee voted 11-9 to begin hearings on whether to strip Cunha of his seat and his political rights for lying to a congressional hearing on corruption in March, when he said he had no bank accounts abroad.

Cunha triggered impeachment proceedings against Rousseff on Dec. 2 over opposition allegations that she violated budget laws to increase spending during her re-election campaign last year.

The ethics case and the police raid may weaken Cunha's effort to unseat the president and undermine his credibility in the divided Brazilian Democratic Movement Party. The PMDB is the largest party in Rousseff's governing coalition, and its moderate members hold crucial swing votes to decide on her impeachment.

Rousseff is struggling to contain the political crisis amid Brazil's worst recession in 25 years and the massive Petrobras graft scandal, but she is not being investigated for corruption.   Continuación...