Brazil’s Bolsonaro Under Scrutiny Over Suspect Payments
Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro and his family faced growing scrutiny Thursday as a government financial crimes unit questioned transactions to and from his son’s former aide totalling $300,000.
Bolsonaro, who takes office January 1 after winning election as a right-wing anti-corruption crusader, acknowledged in a Facebook video posted late Wednesday that the payments by Fabricio Jose de Queiroz were being examined by the graft-busting COAF.
“If an error has been made, by me, by my son, or by Quieroz, we will pay the bill for this error, because we cannot be caught up in the error of anybody,” he said.
“It hurts because what we hold to most firmly is fighting corruption and, whatever happens, when I am president we will fight corruption using all weapons available to the government, including COAF.”
Bolsonaro’s son Flavio Bolsonaro, a lawmaker for Rio de Janeiro state who will be a federal senator from next year, later issued a statement declaring “I did nothing wrong” and that he knew nothing of what Quieroz might have been involved in.
He blasted the media for “only attacking me” and not aides to other politicians, saying: “The media is applying unusual force to break down my reputation and try to hurt Jair Bolsonaro.”
Jair Bolsonaro easily won Brazil’s presidential elections in October amid widespread public disenchantment over a series of mega corruption scandals that tarnished his predecessors.
At issue are 1.2 million reais ($300,000) in transactions to and from Queiroz, a police officer who had served for years as Flavio Bolsonaro’s chauffeur and bodyguard. They raised suspicions because they exceeded his income.
COAF is also looking into 24,000 reais ($6,200) Quieroz deposited via checks into the account of Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle Bolsonaro. The future president has said they were reimbursements for a loan he had made to his son’s aide but not declared.
Bolsonaro, who had for days avoided journalists who wanted to question him about the matter, said in his Facebook video that Quieroz was to talk to authorities next week.