Brazil's Federal Police say data 'prove' that Bolsonaro edited coupist judicial minutes and sent money to the US

Former president continues denying his participation in a coup attempt

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
Jair Bolsonaro actively participated in planning the coup, say Brazil’s Federal Police after investigating - Douglas Magno/AFP

Data gathered by Brazil’s Federal Police and sent in a report to the country’s Supreme Court allegedly prove that former President Jair Bolsonaro (Liberal Party) “analyzed and changed” the judicial minutes of a coupist decree found in the house of former minister of justice Anderson Torres, according to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

It had already been mentioned in the decision of Supreme Court minister Alexandre de Moraes, who authorized the Federal Police operation Tempus Veritatis, focused on the criminal organization that supposedly attempted a coup and tried to suppress the democratic state of law in Brazil to keep Jair Bolsonaro at the presidency.

The coupist decree, allegedly written by Bolsonaro’s former international affairs adviser Filipe Martins and lawyer Amauri Feres Saad, recommended arresting Supreme Court ministers Alexandre de Moraes and Gilmar Mendes, and the president of the National Congress, Rodrigo Pacheco.

Former President Bolsonaro, however, asked Filipe Martins for changes to the document, maintaining Moraes' arrest order and asking for new elections to be held. "In this sense, it was relevant for those under investigation to monitor Minister Alexandre de Moraes to execute the intended arrest order, in case the coup succeeded," read the Supreme Court minister in the decision authorizing the operation.

The information was corroborated by messages exchanged between former presidential aide Mauro Cid and General Marco Antônio Freire Gomes, a former Army commander. In the conversation, Cid stated that Bolsonaro was “being pressured to take a heavier measure" with the help of the Armed Forces. Afterwards, the former aide said that the former president "reduced the decree" and "made a much more summarized decree."

To the Federal Police, the message “confirms the existence of the decree which, it seems, would support a coup that was being set by then President Jair Bolsonaro and that which was known to the Army commander. Mauro Cid confirms that Bolsonaro was being pressured to take a heavier measure by calling the Armed Forces.

The corporation also discovered that Bolsonaro transferred BRL 800,000 (US$ 161,000) to a bank in the United States in December 2022. The aim was to have resources in that foreign country to keep himself out of Brazil while the coup was carried out here, according to Veja magazine.

"It became evident that then President Jair Bolsonaro, at the end of his term, transferred all his assets and financial resources – both illicit and licit – to the United States, to ensure his permanence abroad, possibly awaiting the outcome of the coup attempt underway," says the Federal Police document.

The corporation also says the money may be from licit and illicit funds, since it may be related to the embezzlement of "high-value assets given by foreign authorities,” a reference to undeclared gifts.

The Federal Police also stated that Bolsonaro and his allies were aware of the unconstitutionality of their actions and, therefore, tried to protect themselves from a “possible criminal prosecution”. “Some of those under investigation have fled the country, withdrawing almost all of their funds invested in national financial institutions, and transferring them to the USA to protect themselves from any criminal prosecution instituted to investigate illegal activities."

In a statement to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Boslonaro’s defense denied his participation in a coup attempt. “Any speculation about it does not reflect the expression of the truth. It is common knowledge that the former president has never encouraged any movement of this kind. He went public on his social media accounts against the acts of vandalism that took place on January 8."

Edited by: Nicolau Soares