Bolsonaro Blamed As Evidence Mounts Of Amazon Murders

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (File Photo)

 

Nature defenders, colleagues and family of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira expressed anger Thursday as evidence mounted they were murdered in the Amazon, laying the blame at the door of Brazil’s government.

Guardian contributor Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41, went missing on June 5 in a remote part of the rainforest that is rife with illegal mining, fishing and logging, as well as drug trafficking.

Ten days later, on Wednesday, a suspect named Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira took police to a place where he said he had helped bury bodies near the city of Atalaia do Norte, where the pair had been headed.

Human remains unearthed from the site were to be brought to Brazilia Thursday to be officially identified by experts. Results are likely expected by next week.

Late Wednesday, the federal police chief of Brazil’s northern Amazonas state said there was “a 99-percent probability” the remains “corresponded” to the missing men.

They had apparently been shot.

Phillips, a long-time contributor to The Guardian and other leading international newspapers, was working on a book on sustainable development in the Amazon, with Pereira as his guide, when they went missing.

Pereira, an expert at Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency FUNAI, had received multiple threats from loggers and miners trying to invade isolated Indigenous land.

‘Heartbroken’

Phillips’ family said in a statement they were “heartbroken” by the discovery of two bodies Wednesday, which they took as confirmation that the pair were murdered.

Greenpeace Brazil said the deaths were “a direct result of the agenda of President Jair Bolsonaro for the Amazon, which opens the way for predatory activities and crimes to be reproduced in broad daylight.”

The Javari Valley where the men went missing — an area near the borders with Peru and Colombia — is home to about 20 isolated Indigenous groups where drug traffickers, loggers, miners and illegal fishermen operate.

“In the last three years, our country has increasingly become a land where the only valid law is that of ‘anything goes,” said Greenpeace of the Bolsonaro term.

“It has become a land of invasion and land grabbing; of mining and illegal logging; of territorial conflicts, and where it’s worth killing to ensure that none of these criminal activities are prevented from happening. All this is fueled by the actions and omissions of the Brazilian government.”

Bolsonaro has pushed to develop the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest, since he took office in 2019.

On Wednesday, he drew fresh criticism for saying Phillips was “disliked” for his reporting on the region and should have been more careful.

“The level of violence applied to Bruno and Dom makes clear how the Amazon is at the mercy of the law of the most powerful, under which brutality is the rule,” said WWF Brazil.

“The State abandoned the Amazon due to a meaningless project of destruction of the forest and extermination of its peoples.”

‘Political Crime’

The Univaja Indigenous peoples grouping, which had taken part in the search, denounced the suspected killings as a “political crime,” while the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism said “the president and his allies have become protagonists of attacks on the press” uncovering environmental crimes.

Jonathan Watts, a colleague of Phillips at The Guardian, told AFP in London the “monstrous” crime should not deter journalists and others from exposing the truth.

“People dead for defending Indigenous lands and the environment. Brazil cannot be that,” said ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will face Bolsonaro in October elections.

Investigations continue into the motive for the crime as well as the role played by Oliveira and fellow suspect Oseney da Costa de Oliveira.

Brazilian media report there may be three more people involved. Police have not confirmed the information, but have not ruled out more arrests

Bolsonaro Will Not Undergo Surgery, Doctors Say

In this file photo taken on October 22, 2021 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures during a press conference with his Economy Minister Paulo Guedes (out of frame) at the Ministry’s headquarters in Brasilia.

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will not need surgery, his doctors said Tuesday, a day after the far-right leader was rushed to the hospital with a partially blocked intestine.

“President Jair Messias Bolsonaro’s intestinal subocclusion has been eliminated, with no need for surgery,” the Vila Nova Star hospital in Sao Paulo said in a statement.

“The patient is making satisfactory progress in both clinical evaluations and laboratory exams, and will begin a liquid diet today.”

There is no date set for his release, it added.

Bolsonaro, 66, developed abdominal pain during a New Year’s beach vacation in the southern state of Santa Catarina and was rushed to the hospital early Monday on the presidential jet.

It is the latest in a series of health problems since he was stabbed in the abdomen during the 2018 election campaign that brought him to power.

Doctors diagnosed a partially blocked intestine and said he could need surgery, nine months out from Brazil’s October elections.

READ ALSO: Brazil Cruises Suspended Over COVID-19 Outbreaks

However, lead surgeon Antonio Luiz Macedo, who has operated on Bolsonaro in the past, decided surgery was not necessary.

Bolsonaro has undergone at least four surgeries stemming from the knife attack that nearly killed him, perpetrated by a man who claimed he was following God’s orders, and who was later ruled mentally unfit to stand trial.

The president tweeted a picture of himself flashing a thumbs-up from his hospital bed Monday, his face fitted with a nasogastric tube — a device to carry food and medicine to the stomach through the nose.

Bolsonaro’s approval rating is at an all-time low as he prepares to seek re-election, with Brazil stuck in recession and reeling from one of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreaks.

He currently trails far behind his likely top opponent, leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010), who recent polls indicate could win the election in the first round.

Brazilian President Rushed To Hospital

In this file photo taken on October 22, 2021, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures during a press conference with his Economy Minister Paulo Guedes (out of frame) at the Ministry’s headquarters in Brasilia.

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was rushed to hospital early Monday morning for treatment of a probable intestinal obstruction, local media reported.

Bolsonaro, 66, who has been in power since 2019, was taken to Vila Nova Star hospital in Sao Paulo.

TV Globo showed images of him disembarking from the presidential plane on foot with his entourage.

Doctor Antonio Luiz Macedo, who has operated on Bolsonaro on other occasions, told news site UOL that the president would undergo several tests to examine his abdomen.

READ ALSO: [Trumpism Without Trump] The Republican Playbook For 2022?

Neither the presidential press service nor the hospital has yet responded to requests for information by AFP.

In July, Bolsonaro spent four days receiving treatment for an intestinal obstruction.

Since a knife attack that targeted him during a 2018 election campaign, in which he was stabbed in the stomach, he has undergone abdominal surgery at least four times.

About a month before he was elected president, Bolsonaro was stabbed at a campaign rally by a man who was found to be psychologically unfit for trial.

AFP

Brazil Senators Back Criminal Charges Against Bolsonaro

In this file photo taken on October 22, 2021, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures during a press conference with his Economy Minister Paulo Guedes (out of frame) at the Ministry’s headquarters in Brasilia.

 

A Brazilian Senate committee approved a damning report on Tuesday that recommends criminal charges be brought against President Jair Bolsonaro, including crimes against humanity, for his Covid policies.

Seven of the panel’s 11 senators voted to endorse the text — presented last week after a six-month investigation into Brazil’s pandemic response — which also calls for the indictment of 77 other people, including several ministers and three of Bolsonaro’s children.

READ ALSO: Over 600,000 Homes Without Power In Eastern US Due To Storm

The nearly 1,200-page report also urges Brazil’s Supreme Court to suspend the far-right leader’s access to his accounts on social media platforms YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for falsely alleging that Covid-19 vaccines were linked to AIDS.

Following dozens of often tense and harrowing hearings, the report finds Bolsonaro “deliberately exposed” Brazilians to “mass infection” in a disastrous attempt to reach herd immunity from the coronavirus.

The report calls for the president to be indicted for nine crimes related to his downplaying Covid-19 and flouting expert advice on containing it.

They include “crimes against humanity,” “prevarication,” “charlatanism,” and incitement to crime.

The committee does not have the power to bring charges itself, and it is unlikely the attorney general or lower-house speaker — both Bolsonaro allies — will open criminal or impeachment proceedings.

But the report adds to the damage as Bolsonaro reels from his lowest-ever approval ratings, heading into an election in one year’s time that polls place him on track to lose to leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

And the crimes against humanity charge theoretically has the potential to be tried at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

After the vote the senators observed a minute of silence in tribute to the 606,000 Brazilians who have died from Covid — a toll second only to the United States.

“We can no longer tolerate this type of behavior,” the lawmakers said in a court filing earlier signed by the panel’s deputy chair, opposition Senator Randolfe Rodrigues.

– Debunked AIDS claim –
The committee hearings, broadcast live, have featured emotional witness statements and chilling revelations about the use of ineffective medication on “human guinea pigs.”

The senators’ court filing called for the authorities to lift the data confidentiality on Bolsonaro’s social media accounts and order Facebook and Twitter, as well as YouTube owner Google, to provide normally secret information on the president’s usage.

The document also called on the high court to order Bolsonaro to make a retraction in a nationally televised address, “refuting any correlation between vaccination against the coronavirus and developing AIDS,” or face a fine of 50,000 reais ($9,000) for every day he fails to comply.

Bolsonaro made the controversial claim Thursday in his weekly social media live address.

He said “official reports” from the British government — which has debunked the claim — “suggest that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are developing Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome much faster than expected.”

Facebook removed the video for violating its policies on spreading misinformation. YouTube went a step further Monday, suspending Bolsonaro for a week, in addition to blocking the clip.

– ‘I don’t want to lose Facebook’ –
Bolsonaro appeared to have taken the information from a supposed news story spreading online.

“I recommend you read the article,” he said in his video, without saying where the information came from.

“I’m not going to read it here, because I don’t want to lose my Facebook live video.”

Like former US president Donald Trump, his political role model, Bolsonaro relies heavily on social media to rally his base.

Bolsonaro has had social media posts deleted numerous times in the past for spreading misinformation and inciting people to violate social distancing policies.

However, this is the first time Facebook has taken down one of his weekly live videos, a cornerstone of his communications.

The president, who took office in January 2019, has said he does not plan to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and joked in the past the vaccine could “turn you into an alligator.”

Defiant Brazilian President Makes U-Turn, Set For COVID-19 Vaccination

File Photo of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. AFP

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has confirmed he will not get vaccinated against Covid-19, having previously said he would be the “last Brazilian” to do so.

The far-right leader has generated controversy over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and for initially downplaying the seriousness of the virus, despite catching it himself.

“I’ve decided not to get vaccinated. I’m looking at new studies, I already have the highest immunization, why would I get vaccinated?” the 66-year-old said late Tuesday night in an interview with Jovem Pan radio.

“It would be the same as betting 10 reais on the lottery to win two. It doesn’t make sense.”

A coronavirus skeptic, Bolsonaro previously claimed the Pfizer vaccine could turn people into crocodiles due to secondary effects.

Since contracting Covid-19 in July 2020, Bolsonaro has repeatedly claimed that tests have shown he has a large number of antibodies to fight the virus and thus does not need to be vaccinated, something experts dispute.

Bolsonaro is also strongly opposed to the health passes, given to those that are vaccinated, required by some large Brazilian cities in order to access certain public spaces.

“For me, freedom comes before everything else. If a citizen doesn’t want to get vaccinated, that’s his right and that’s the end of it,” Bolsonaro told Jovem Pan.

Almost 100 million of Brazil’s 213 million population are entirely vaccinated against Covid-19, while another 50 million have had one dose.

Last week, the country surpassed 600,000 deaths from Covid-19, the second-worst death toll in the world after the United States.

Bolsonaro’s refusal to get vaccinated has also solicited criticism from abroad, notably in September when he traveled to New York for the UN General Assembly.

While there, he was photographed standing in a street eating pizza, something Brazilian press attributed to his being unable to enter restaurants due to being unvaccinated.

AFP

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Accused Of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ At ICC

File Photo of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was accused Tuesday of “crimes against humanity” at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in the destruction of the Amazon, the first case seeking to explicitly link deforestation to loss of life.

Planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning and industrial-scale agriculture in the Amazon are higher than the total annual emissions of Italy or Spain. Deforestation in the region already releases more CO2 than the rest of the Amazon can absorb.

Austrian environmental justice campaigners Allrise filed the official complaint at The Hague-based court Tuesday morning. They asked for legal proceedings against Bolsonaro and his administration for actions “directly connected to the negative impacts of climate change around the world”.

READ ALSO: G20 Leaders To Discuss Afghanistan In Virtual Summit

The complaint accuses the Brazilian leader of waging a widespread campaign resulting in the murder of environmental defenders and of endangering the global population through emissions caused by deforestation.

It harnesses the growing field of climate attribution science, which allows researchers to prove a link between extreme weather events, on the one hand, and global heating and environmental degradation, on the other.

The team behind it said that Bolsonaro’s administration had sought to “systematically remove, neuter, and eviscerate laws, agencies and individuals that serve to protect the Amazon”.

It said that Bolsonaro was responsible for approximately 4,000 square kilometres (400,000 hectares) of lost rainforest each year, and that he had presided over monthly deforestation rates that had accelerated by up to 88 percent since taking office on January 1, 2019.

Bolsonaro’s office did not respond to a request for comment from AFP.

– ‘Intentional destruction’ –
The team of experts estimated that emissions attributable to the Bolsonaro administration due to rampant deforestation will cause over 180,000 excess heat-related deaths globally this century.

“In the last few years, climate science has come a long way in being able to provide evidence of specific causal relationships between emissions of greenhouse gases and the consequences that arrive globally as a result,” Rupert Stuart Smith, from the University of Oxford’s Sustainable Law Programme, told AFP.

While there have been at least three other complaints by indigenous groups against Bolsonaro at the ICC since 2016, organisers say this one is the first to highlight the clear link between forest loss and global human health.

“What’s happening in Brazil — mass deforestation — we want to understand the causal link to the global climate,” AllRise founder Johannes Wesemann told AFP.

“It is exactly what the Rome Statute defines as a crime against humanity: the intentional destruction of the environment and environmental defenders.”

The point of the complaint was “not to speak on behalf of any Brazilian, but rather to show the global gravity of mass deforestation”, said Wesemann.

– ‘Aiding, abetting murder’ –
Lawyer Nigel Povoas, who has led prosecution of some of the most notorious international criminals, said the complaint was levelled against several individuals within Bolsonaro’s administration.

“We’re focusing on the most senior actors responsible,” he told AFP.

“We’re saying as a result of the state policy that they are pursuing they are knowingly aiding and abetting the perpetrators on the ground committing crimes such as murder, persecution and other inhumane acts.”

The ICC has no obligation to consider complaints filed to the prosecutor by individuals or groups, and does not comment on them until the prosecutor announces that it has started a preliminary examination into a specific matter.

Maud Sarlieve, a human rights and international criminal lawyer said that were the Bolsonaro complaint to be pursued, it would send a clear message to individuals such as CEOs of fossil fuel companies: “Beware.”

“The law is now allowing us to go after those who are ruthlessly and knowingly pursuing policies which clearly result in environmental destruction and an impact on civilian population,” she said.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Hopes Trump Wins

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday he hoped Donald Trump would come out ahead in the down-to-the-wire US election, lashing out at Democratic contender Joe Biden’s comments on protecting the Amazon rainforest.

The far-right leader, who has been dubbed a “Tropical Trump,” has cultivated a close relationship with the Republican president, and has not been shy about endorsing his bid for reelection.

“You know where I stand, I’ve been clear. I have a good relationship with Trump. I hope he’ll be reelected,” Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasilia.

He denied backing Trump amounted to “interference” in US affairs, saying, “Who are we to interfere anyway?”

“How do you want me to interfere? Economically? Militarily? A cyber attack?” he joked.

Turning to Biden, who is locked in a tight race with Trump that could stretch Tuesday’s election into hours or days of vote-counting, Bolsonaro attacked the former vice president for urging Brazil to better preserve the Amazon.

“The Democratic candidate has spoken twice about the Amazon. Is that what you want for Brazil? Now that’s what I call interference,” he said.

The Amazon has been a touchy subject for Bolsonaro since Biden said in September in his first debate against Trump that he planned to raise funds from the international community to offer Brazil $20 billion to “stop tearing down the forest.”

“If you don’t, then you’re going to have significant economic consequences,” Biden said.

Bolsonaro, who has faced international condemnation for presiding over a surge in deforestation and wildfires since taking office in 2019, called the statement “disastrous and unnecessary” the following day.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Hopes Trump Wins

File photo: US President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he hosts a Make America Great Again campaign event at Des Moines International Airport in Des Moines, Iowa on October 14, 2020.
Alex Edelman / AFP

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday he hoped Donald Trump would come out ahead in the down-to-the-wire US election, lashing out at Democratic contender Joe Biden’s comments on protecting the Amazon rainforest.

The far-right leader, who has been dubbed a “Tropical Trump,” has cultivated a close relationship with the Republican president, and has not been shy about endorsing his bid for reelection.

“You know where I stand, I’ve been clear. I have a good relationship with Trump. I hope he’ll be reelected,” Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasilia.

He denied backing Trump amounted to “interference” in US affairs, saying, “Who are we to interfere anyway?”

“How do you want me to interfere? Economically? Militarily? A cyber attack?” he joked.

Turning to Biden, who is locked in a tight race with Trump that could stretch Tuesday’s election into hours or days of vote-counting, Bolsonaro attacked the former vice president for urging Brazil to better preserve the Amazon.

“The Democratic candidate has spoken twice about the Amazon. Is that what you want for Brazil? Now that’s what I call interference,” he said.

The Amazon has been a touchy subject for Bolsonaro since Biden said in September in his first debate against Trump that he planned to raise funds from the international community to offer Brazil $20 billion to “stop tearing down the forest.”

“If you don’t, then you’re going to have significant economic consequences,” Biden said.

Bolsonaro, who has faced international condemnation for presiding over a surge in deforestation and wildfires since taking office in 2019, called the statement “disastrous and unnecessary” the following day.

 

Bolsonaro Asks Brazilians ‘Not To Give Ammunition’ To Freed Lula

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the changing of the guard ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on July 31, 2019./AFP

 

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro asked his supporters Saturday “not to give ammunition to the scoundrel,” the day after popular leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva walked free from jail.

Breaking his silence on the release of his arch-nemesis, Bolsonaro told his Twitter followers: “Lovers of freedom and good, we are a majority. We cannot make mistakes.”

He added Lula was “momentarily free, but guilty.”

Lula’s dramatic exit from jail in the southern city of Curitiba on Friday came a day after a controversial Supreme Court ruling that could release thousands of convicts and undermine a sprawling corruption investigation called Car Wash.

A 6-5 decision overturned a rule requiring convicted criminals to go to jail after losing their first appeal.

Those convicts would remain free until they had exhausted their rights to appeal — a process critics say could take years in cases involving people able to afford expensive lawyers.

In an impassioned address to hundreds of supporters who greeted him as he walked out of the federal police headquarters, Lula, 74, vowed to keep fighting for poor people.

The former union leader who helped found the Workers Party (PT) also denounced the economic policies of Bolsonaro, who was swept to power in 2018 in an election Lula had been widely tipped to win.

Cheers and Fireworks

“People are hungrier, they have no jobs, people work for Uber or delivering pizzas on a bike,” Lula said in remarks sometimes drowned out by cheers from the crowd and fireworks overhead.

Lula’s release is likely to spur the divided and rudderless left and, paradoxically, could also help Bolsonaro, who capitalized in last year’s vote on widespread anti-PT sentiment after a massive corruption scandal.

Lula, who led Brazil through a historic boom from 2003 to 2010, earning him the gratitude of millions of Brazilians for redistributing wealth to haul them out of poverty, was serving eight years and 10 months for corruption.

He was sentenced to almost 13 years in jail in February in a separate corruption case and still faces another half dozen corruption trials.

Lula has denied all the charges, arguing they were politically motivated to keep him out of the 2018 presidential election that was won by Bolsonaro.

Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who convicted Lula when he was a judge in 2017, said the Supreme Court’s decision must be respected, but he noted “Congress can modify the Constitution or the law” to allow the jailing of convicted criminals after their first appeal.

Left-wing leaders from around the world, including Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and US liberal presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders have cheered Lula’s release.

“I am delighted that he has been released from jail, something that never should have happened in the first place,” Sanders tweeted.

Even though he has been freed, Lula’s criminal record will prevent him from resuming his political career. He was the founder of the Workers Party (PT).

That could change, however, if the Supreme Court were to decide in a separate case that Moro had been biased.

Lula has so far indicated he is not going to use his freedom to sit on the political sidelines.

On Saturday, he will visit he metalworkers’ union he once led near Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city.

“Afterward the doors of Brazil will be open so that I can travel around this country,” he said.

Brazilian President Bolsonaro To Undergo Hernia Surgery

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. EVARISTO SA / AFP

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will undergo surgery for an incisional hernia in Sao Paulo on Sunday, his surgeon said.

He arrived at Vila Nova Star Hospital Saturday night accompanied by his wife Michelle and his son Carlos.

It is his fourth operation since he was stabbed a year ago during the presidential campaign, with the latest surgery to correct a problem resulting from the previous procedures.

“The president has already gone through three large surgeries, including the last one, for abdominal reconstruction, and the region was quite weakened by invasive actions,” his surgeon Antonio Luiz Macedo told the G1 news portal.

READ ALSO: Hundreds Flee Flood-Ravaged Bahamas

“It is a simple to moderate level surgery,” he said. “No complications are expected.”

The surgery forced the right-wing president to miss a summit of leaders from seven Amazon nations in Colombia to agree measures to protect the world’s biggest rainforest.

He has been widely criticized over policies that favor deforestation and a delayed reaction to the wildfires that have devastated swathes of the Amazon.

Bolsonaro was stabbed in September, 2018 during a campaign rally in the state of Minas Gerais.

Attacker Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, 41, was arrested at the scene and said he acted alone.

De Oliveira, who medical authorities said suffers from mental problems, was ordered detained indefinitely in the psychiatric unit of a maximum security prison.

Son Of Brazilian President Bolsonaro Embroiled In Scandal

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is pictured during the signing of an agreement with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri (out of frame) at Planalto Palace in Brasilia. VARISTO SA / AFP

 

As Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro arrives in Switzerland on Monday on his first trip abroad, to attend Davos, he is leaving behind a suspicious payments scandal involving his politician son Flavio Bolsonaro.

Flavio, a senator in the incoming Congress, is under growing scrutiny by a government financial watchdog because of 48 deposits made to his bank account in 2017 for a total $30,000, as well as persistent questions over $300,000 in transactions detected in the account of a former close aide.

The suspicions are an embarrassment to Jair Bolsonaro, who won the election on promises to stamp out the corruption that has long plagued Brazilian politics.

Flavio Bolsonaro has come out swinging, denying any wrongdoing.

“I have nothing to hide,” he told Brazilian TV network Record late Sunday, claiming he was the victim of “persecution.”

Waving documents, he said the money came from the sale and purchase of an apartment, adding that the payment of a million reais ($300,000) to a federal loans account was related to the property deal.

Brazil’s COAF agency tasked with monitoring financial transactions discovered that 48 deposits of 2,000 reais were made into Flavio’s account over five days in June and July 2017, many just minutes apart, according to media citing a COAF report.

The total deposited was 96,000 reais (equivalent to $30,000 at the average exchange rate for this year). The 2,000-real threshold is below a requirement for the person making a deposit to show their identity.

Flavio, in the interview, said “this money is mine, deposited in my own account… There is no mystery. Everything is declared, proven. If it was illicit, do you think it would be deposited in my account?”

The matter was to be detailed further on Monday, with prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro holding a media conference on the transactions.

Up to being elected to the Senate, Flavio Bolsonaro was a deputy in Rio de Janeiro’s state legislature.

 Undeclared loan 

The revelations come on top of transactions involving his former driver and bodyguard, a police officer named Fabricio Queiroz, between 2016 and 2017. Some money was deposited in the account of Jair Bolsonaro’s wife.

Queiroz has declined to testify to COAF over the money, asserting ill health. But he has told media the money came from side businesses he ran, mainly buying and selling cars.

Brazil’s supreme court last week suspended an investigation into Queiroz’s transactions at Flavio’s request.

Jair Bolsonaro has said the money put in his wife’s account came from an undeclared loan he made to Queiroz.

Adding to the suspicions, a columnist in the O Globo newspaper, Lauro Jardim, on Sunday wrote that seven million reais (around $2 million) passed through Queiroz’s account between 2014 and 2017.

The result for Jair Bolsonaro is an uncomfortable scandal at home while he meets with the world’s political and financial elite at Davos.

According to Brazilian reports, citing presidential spokesman Rego Barros, Bolsonaro has cancelled a planned media conference in Davos to avoid being questioned about his son’s transactions.

AFP

Brazil Judge Suspends Probe Into Aide To President’s Son

Brazil’s President Bolsonaro/ AFP

 

A Brazilian supreme court judge has halted an investigation into suspicious transactions handled by an aide to a politician son of President Jair Bolsonaro, officials said Thursday.

The injunction, issued Wednesday, was confirmed by Rio de Janeiro state authorities overseeing the probe into the “atypical financial movements” in accounts in the name of Fabricio Queiroz, a police officer who serves as driver and bodyguard for Bolsonaro’s eldest son Flavio Bolsonaro.

The reason for the injunction, issued under conditions of secrecy by Justice Luiz Fux, was not made public.

Jair Bolsonaro took office on January 1 after easily winning October 2018 elections by promising a stern crackdown on corruption.

A government financial monitoring agency detected suspect transactions totaling 1.2 million reais ($300,000), the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported in early December.

The movements occurred between January 2016 and January 2017 and flagged attention because they were not compatible with Quieroz’s police salary.

One of the transactions was a deposit of 24,000 reais made to an account in the name of Jair Bolsonaro’s wife.

Flavio Bolsonaro was a lawmaker in Rio de Janeiro’s state legislature at the time. In October he won a seat in the federal senate, which starts sitting in February.

Brazilian media said the judge issued his order following a request from Flavio Bolsonaro.

Quieroz has been summoned several times to testify as to the source of the transactions but has failed to do so, asserting health problems.

The Rio de Janeiro state prosecutors’ office said on Monday that it could move forward with a case against him regardless, if sufficient evidence existed.

In a television interview late December, Quieroz denied acting as a front for the Bolsonaros and said the money came from side businesses he ran, “buying cars, selling cars.”

The president has tried to downplay the affair, saying that if any “mistake” was made it would be “paid.” He said the payment from Quieroz’s account to his wife’s was partial repayment of an undeclared loan he had made to his son’s driver.

Jair Bolsonaro, an avid Twitter user, made no immediate comment on the injunction or the circumstances surrounding it.

AFP