Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s last presidential election by promising to clean up politics, and since taking office in 2019, he said at least 237 times That his government “zero corruption”.
But in recent weeks, Bolsonaro has worried he may be in prison, according to two senior officials who heard him speak on the matter and asked not to be identified so they could describe the private conversations.
Despite his allegations, Bolsonaro and his inner circle have faced investigations over allegations including embezzlement of public funds, employee salary theft and mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, to date, investigations have been delayed or prevented due to his political influence and the president’s impunity.
But if Bolsonaro loses the presidential election on Sunday, that could change.
“After leaving office, there is no immunity, nothing, for the crimes committed by a former president in Brazil,” said Elisa Machado, professor of law at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a university and research organization in São Paulo, Brazil.
The law in Brazil leaves less room for interpretation on the matter than it does in the United States, where former President Donald Trump’s allegations of presidential immunity helped him get around. Research and trials.
In Brazil, only the public prosecutor can investigate an incumbent president, and only the Federal Supreme Court can try him, which “definitely helps avoid investigations,” according to Davi Tangarino, a law professor at Rio de Janeiro State University.
In 2019, Bolsonaro appointed Augusto Arras to the position of attorney general, ignoring a two-decade tradition in which federal prosecutors choose their chief. Since then, the Attorney General’s Office has submitted more than 100 requests for investigation, most of them related to Bolsonaro’s chaotic and possibly corrupt response to the pandemic and his attacks against Supreme court.
“The attorney general has protected him from any liability,” Machado said.
In addition, Bolsonaro and two of his sons have been implicated in lawsuits accusing them of taking a portion of employee salaries during their time in Congress. Last year, the attorney general’s office opened investigations into the president’s cases, but no progress has been made in these investigations.
Two months ago, family finances were in the spotlight due to a news site report LOU He pointed out that half of the family’s purchases of 107 properties were made in cash. Prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro are examining whether 25 of the properties were purchased with money diverted from employee salaries.
The president has also managed to maintain tight control over Congress, which has delayed more than 130 impeachment requests. Brazilian media stadium s Biao He reported that his administration, in turn, allowed a group of congressmen to provide more than $8 billion to their regional constituencies. Two weeks ago, the Federal Police Two people arrested For this alleged embezzlement scheme, called the “secret budget”.
To protect himself and his inner circle from investigations, Bolsonaro expanded protections against dozens of requests for information, imposing 100-year classified labels on data such as the names of people who visited the presidential palace and communications from the State Department. things.
Da Silva, who was in prison on corruption charges, used this theme in his campaign, promising: “On my first day in office, I’ll clear those secrets.”
Andre Spigariol Contribute to this report.
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