“I ended Lava Jato”: a reminder of the Bolsonaro family’s corruption indictments

The president affirmed that he ended corruption within his government. Facts show the opposite

Translated by: Ítalo Piva

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
Not due to forgetfulness, the president seems to be ignoring the corruption indictments haunting his own family - José Cruz / Agência Brasil

According to president Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilians can sleep easy as of Wednesday, October 7th. One of the nation’s structural problems no longer exists, at least not within the Federal government: corruption. During a speech at the presidential palace, the former army captain affirmed that he ended the Car Wash (Lava Jato) anti-corruptioin operation because there is no more corruption in his government.

“I’m proud, it gives me satisfaction to say to the wonderful press that I don’t want to end the Car Wash operation. I ended the Car Wash investigation because there is no more corruption within the government. I know this is not a virtue, it’s an obligation”, said the president while praising his own administration, which was followed by applause from the audience.

However, not due to forgetfulness, the president seems to be ignoring the corruption indictments haunting his own family.

Congressional inquiry into fake news

Both Carlos Bolsonaro, a Rio de Janeiro city councilman, and Federal congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro are under investigation by the Mixed Parliamentary Inquiry Commision (CPMI) for their involvement in the dissemination of fake news, alleged participation in online campaigns to attack and discredit political opponents with the use of false information.

Data gathered by the Federal Police show that IP addresses belonging to Eduardo Bolsonaro, were used in the mass sharing of fake news and attacks on political opponents of the Bolsonaro family.

Fake news inquiry at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Federal Court (STF) is conducting a separate investigation into the spread of fake news, this time related to members of the court and the National Congress specifically. According to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, in this inquiry, the Federal Police again identified Carlos Bolsonaro as one of the participants in the criminal fake news scheme, alongside businessmen supportive of Bolsonaro who were allegedly financing the operation.

Participating in anti-democracy rallies

Yet another investigation is underway at the STF that is looking into anti-democracy protests that took place on April 19th. At the time, the protesters were calling for the closure of the National Congress and the Supreme Court, as well as the return of Institutional Act 5, a military dictatorship era law which gave the government sweeping powers.

President Jair Bolsonaro attended the rally and gave a speech in front of the army Head Quarters, endorsing the anti-democratic narrative.

The Queiroz case

In December of 2018, a few weeks before Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as president, a document from the Financial Activities Control Council (Coaf) identified a series of atypical financial transactions in accounts belonging to parliamentary assistants, among which, was one working for then Rio de Janeiro state congressman, and recently elected Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, the president’s son.

There is little information about the final destination of these funds, but according to the report, one of the transactions was a R$ 24,000 check made out to Michelle Bolsonaro, the president’s wife.

Furthermore, the document shows that many large deposits in cash were made to an account belonging to Flávio Bolsonaro’s former driver, Fabrício Queiroz, coincidentally on the same days that Rio de Janeiro state congress paid its salaries.

Interference in the Federal Police (PF)

Progress in investigations targeting Flávio Bolsonaro, led Jair Bolsonaro to directly influence a change at the top of the Federal Police (PF) command in the state of Rio de Janeiro. This led former Justice Minister Sérgio Moro, an anti-corruption icon to resign. The PF is responsible for investigating the case both in the state of Rio de Janeiro and in the Federal District of Brasíia.

Criminal conspiracy and money laundering

An inquiry by the Rio de Janeiro attorney general targeting the presient’s son, looking into criminal conspiracy, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds continues to be under seal.

The Intercept Brazil website had access to secret documents from the investigation back in April, which showed that money raised by then state congressman Flávio Bolsonaro, was used as investments for building constructions by three companies: São Felipe Construção Civil Eireli, São Jorge Construção Civil Eireli e ConstruRioMZ.

The now Senator Flávio Bolsonaro would profit from these investments through kickbacks made by one Adriano da Nóbrega and his former assistant Fabrício Queiroz, according to investigators.

The criminal enterprise also charges “protection money”, acts in the home gas and water sales market, and provides clandestine cable TV and construction services in the Rio das Pedras and Muzema areas of Rio de Janeiro.

The execution of Marielle Franco

The brutal murder of Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman Marielle Franco, which happened more than two years ago, also shed light on the presidential family’s involvement with Rio de Janeiro’s criminal militias.

Exactly one year after her death, former policemen Ronnie Lessa and Élcio Queiroz were arrested and charged with committing the crime that garnered international attention.

Lessa was Jair Bolsonaro’s neighbor at a private condominium in Rio de Janeiro’s west side. For his part, Élcio Queiroz would often praise the Head of State on social media and post picture with him.

Months later, Federal prosecutor Raquel Dodge, brought forth an indictment of Domingos Inácio Brazão to the Justice Ministry, pointing to the former Rio de Janeiro state congressman as the leader of the plot behind Marielle Franco’s murder.

The involvement of the Bolsonaro family with those responsible for the death of the councilwoman created backlash against a campaign to move the murder investigations from Rio de Janeiro state, to the Federal level, something Marielle’s family had often called for, but changed their minds about once Bolsonaro took office.

Adriano da Nóbrega on the other hand, was killed on February 9th of this year, during a police operation that tried to capture him after an entire year on the run. In an interview with the Globo news outlet, his lawyer, Paulo Emílio Catta Preta, raised the possibility that his client was killed in order to erase evidence.

“He told me: ‘doctor, no one is here to arrest me. They want to kill me. If they arrest me they will kill me in prison. I’m sure they’re going to kill me to erase evidence’. These were his words”, said the attorney.


Edited by: Leandro Melito