World

Head of Brazil's lower house charged in corruption probe, adding to political turbulence

  • FILE - In this March 12, 2015, file photo, President of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha, speaks during his testimony at the Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry of the Chamber of Deputies on the Petrobras corruption scandal in Brasilia, Brazil. Brazil's attorney general has filed corruption charges on Thursday, Aug. 20 2015, against Cunha for his alleged involvement in a massive corruption scandal at the country's state-run oil company. He has been charged for allegedly receiving a $5 million bribe. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

    FILE - In this March 12, 2015, file photo, President of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha, speaks during his testimony at the Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry of the Chamber of Deputies on the Petrobras corruption scandal in Brasilia, Brazil. Brazil's attorney general has filed corruption charges on Thursday, Aug. 20 2015, against Cunha for his alleged involvement in a massive corruption scandal at the country's state-run oil company. He has been charged for allegedly receiving a $5 million bribe. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 8, 2011 file photo, Fernando Collor de Mello, former Brazilian president and current senator, speaks during an interview in Brasilia, Brazil. Brazil's attorney general filed corruption charges on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 against Collor, the speaker of the lower house of congress. Prosecutors said Collor, along with Chamber of Deputies speaker Eduardo Cunha, took part in the sprawling corruption scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras, which ran for over a decade and in which billions in bribes were allegedly paid. Collor was previously impeached while president in the early 1990s. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

    FILE - In this July 8, 2011 file photo, Fernando Collor de Mello, former Brazilian president and current senator, speaks during an interview in Brasilia, Brazil. Brazil's attorney general filed corruption charges on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 against Collor, the speaker of the lower house of congress. Prosecutors said Collor, along with Chamber of Deputies speaker Eduardo Cunha, took part in the sprawling corruption scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras, which ran for over a decade and in which billions in bribes were allegedly paid. Collor was previously impeached while president in the early 1990s. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • A demonstrator waves a flag that reads in Portuguese "Dilma president" during a march in support of President Dilma Rousseff in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. Demonstrators marched in several cities across the nation to show support for president Rousseff after the recent Petrobras corruption scandal in which Brazil's Attorney General's has filed charges against Chamber of Deputies speaker Eduardo Cunha and Sen. Fernando Collor. Rousseff, who's pole numbers are at an all time low, has not been accused of any wrongdoing, although she served as chairwoman of the Petrobras board during several years as the scheme played out. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

    A demonstrator waves a flag that reads in Portuguese "Dilma president" during a march in support of President Dilma Rousseff in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. Demonstrators marched in several cities across the nation to show support for president Rousseff after the recent Petrobras corruption scandal in which Brazil's Attorney General's has filed charges against Chamber of Deputies speaker Eduardo Cunha and Sen. Fernando Collor. Rousseff, who's pole numbers are at an all time low, has not been accused of any wrongdoing, although she served as chairwoman of the Petrobras board during several years as the scheme played out. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)  (The Associated Press)

Brazil's attorney general has filed corruption charges against the speaker of the lower house of congress for alleged involvement in a corruption scandal at the country's state-run Petrobras oil company.

The Attorney General's Office says in a Thursday statement that Chamber of Deputies speaker Eduardo Cunha is accused of receiving a $5 million bribe as part of the widespread corruption-kickback scheme at Petrobras.

Prosecutors say the scheme involved billions in bribes that included the payment to politically appointed Petrobras executives in return for inflated contracts. They allege some of the money made its way into campaign coffers and into the hands of dozens of lawmakers.

Under Brazilian law, charges against federal congressmen can only be filed and judged by the Supreme Court, which is expected to take years to rule.