Brazil Judge Reopens Bolsonaro Probe
Brazil’s Supreme Court has reopened a probe into suspicious payments involving President Bolsonaro’s son Flavio. The justice acted Friday, the same day the junior politician was sworn in as senator.
The court overruled an injunction put in place last month with the rationale that the case could only be considered by the Supreme Court under the secrecy granted to federal lawmakers. However, the court pointed out that Flavio Bolsonaro was not a senator at that time.
The investigation continues to dominate Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency and to undermine his anti-corruption agenda. He came to power last month promising to stamp out corruption in light of the country’s widespread Car Wash scandal.
Brazil's anti-financial crime agency (COAF) opened an inquiry in December after detecting 1.2 million real (US$326,000) in suspicious transactions passing through the accounts of Flavio Bolsonaro’s former aide Fabricio Queiroz, the politician’s driver during his time as a Rio de Janeiro legislator.
Some transactions were made to Michelle Bolsonaro, the wife of the current president. Jair Bolsonaro claims Queiroz was repaying a loan to his wife.
An additional 48 deposits totalling 96,000 real ($26,000) were discovered passing into Flavio Bolsonaro's accounts in June and July 2017, many within minutes of each other.
The president’s team has attempted to distance itself from the probe.
“If by chance he erred and it were proven, I regret it as a father, but he’ll have to pay the price for those actions we can’t accept," Bolsonaro told Bloomberg in January.
“Flavio Bolsonaro has nothing to do with our government,” Vice President Hamilton Mourao told Reuters.
Flavio claims he is “the victim of a defamatory campaign aimed at the government of Jair Bolsonaro,” in a statement on Twitter.