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The Brazilian Prosecutor’s Office accuses a son of Bolsonaro of corruption, laundering and embezzlement

Senator Flavio Bolsonaro (left) accompanies his father, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, at an event in November last year.Eraldo Peres / AP

Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, the president’s eldest son, has been formally charged by the Rio de Janeiro Prosecutor’s Office for the crimes of embezzlement of public funds, money laundering, belonging to a criminal organization and misappropriation. The complaint, which had been expected for months, was known this morning while half the world was awaiting the scrutiny of the United States elections. Bolsonaro Jr. is considered the leader of a corruption system that diverted part of the salaries – paid with public money – of 23 former advisers to his cabinet while he was a state deputy, between 2007 and 2018. Another 16 people have been accused of the same crimes, including Fabricio Queiroz, a former military policeman who worked as an advisor for years and is considered the manager of the diversion system. The remainder were also advisers to the cabinet. They both deny the accusations.

The corruption accusations against Bolsonaro’s eldest son are the Achilles heel of the president, who came to power with a relentless fight against corruption. Bolsonaro Sr. is a fierce protector of the three sons who have accompanied him in politics for years, a senator, a deputy and a councilor from Rio de Janeiro who is now campaigning for re-election. The Supreme Court is investigating whether the president’s zeal went too far, even leading to political interference with the Federal Police to avoid investigations against his offspring.

Flávio Bolsonaro has declared in a statement that the prosecution’s accusation “does not go beyond a macabre badly engendered chronicle.” His father has been silent.

The investigation, which began in mid-2018 after the Financial Activities Control Council (Coaf) identified atypical movements in Queiroz’s accounts, concluded that Bolsonaro Jr. had diverted at least 2.7 million reais (half a million reais). dollars) from employees who, for the most part, did not work in his cabinet and did not even sign up for the Rio Assembly.

Just over two million reais came from hundreds of bank transfers and cash income made by at least 13 other ghost advisers with whom former police officer Queiroz had a relationship of kinship, neighbor or friendship. According to the investigation, the money was then transferred to Flávio Bolsonaro or used to pay for his personal expenses. Always in cash. The Rio Prosecutor’s Office identified more than 100 receipts from his daughters’ school and health insurance paid in cash, in addition to income equivalent to 25,000 reais ($ 4,400) in the bank account of Flávio Bolsonaro’s wife.

The Prosecutor’s Office maintains that Senator Bolsonaro also used real estate transactions in the chocolate factory of which he was a partner to launder money. The investigation also highlights the link between Queiroz and the Bolsonaro family with Adriano Nóbrega, a former military policeman turned criminal, suspected of participating in the murder of councilor Marielle Franco. Nóbrega, a fugitive from justice, was killed in a police operation in February. Nóbrega’s ex-wife and mother also worked in Flávio Bolsonaro’s cabinet.

Still on the authorities’ radar are the 27 checks that Queiroz wrote to President Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle, amounting to about $ 16,000. In total, the amount that Queiroz transferred to relatives of the president can reach almost 80,000 dollars. Also, according to the newspaper State of S. Paulo, Councilman Carlos Bolsonaro, the president’s second son, bought an apartment for cash when he was 20 years old, as recorded in the deeds. And the newspaper Or Balloon identified that the deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, his third son, used $ 26,000 in cash to pay for part of two apartments in Rio de Janeiro, in 2011 and 2016. Although it is not illegal, the purchase of goods with high cash value raises suspicions of laundering of money.