The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, was involved in the diversion of public money from the time when he was a national deputy, by hiring family members as ghost employees or “gnocchi” who had to return part of their salaries, according to an investigation based on WhatsApp audios of a former sister-in-law of the head of State revealed by the place UOL and the diary Folha de Sao Paulo.
The case is an annexed chapter of the investigation that the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office opened against Senator Flávio Bolsonaro for money laundering and embezzlement for having diverted public funds through the returns that it requested from its employees until 2018, when the president’s first son was a provincial legislator.
It is a case of returns or, as it is called in Brazil, “rachadinhas”, using “gnocchi” employees to capture the salary they receive.
In one of the audios revealed by UOL, the president’s former sister-in-law, the bodybuilder Andrea Siqueira Valle, affirms that Bolsonaro, when he was a deputy, position he held between 1991 and 2018, used this practice.
These audios revealed by an extensive investigation by UOL are known after on Friday the Supreme Federal Court will determine the opening of an investigation against Bolsonaro for prevarication in the alleged corruption in the contract for the purchase of Covaxin vaccines against the coronavirus.
Protest against Bolsonaro on Avenida Paulista de San Pablo. Photo DPA
Bolsonaro, according to the woman, fired another former brother-in-law, André Siqueira Valle, because refused to return most of his salary when he worked in Congress as an official parliamentary advisor to the then deputy and now president.
“André caused a lot of problems because he never returned the money that had to be returned. He had to return 6,000 reais and he would return 2,000, 3,000. He did this for a long time until Jair called me and said, ‘Enough, you can get him out of office because he never gives me back the money he has to pay back,’ the recording says.
The president’s former sister-in-law worked for a decade, between 2008 and 2018, as a legislative employee of the office of today Senator Flávio Bolsonaro when he was a provincial deputy of Rio de Janeiro.
Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Frederick Wasseff, denied the existence of that audio when considering it a “clandestine test” and described his appearance “anticipation of the presidential campaign of 2022”, in which the president will play for re-election.
Other audio recorded conversations in which Bolsonaro was cited as “01”, a nickname that would indicate him as the head of an irregular group in which the former police officer Fabricio Queiroz, a friend of Bolsonaro, who was imprisoned for coordinating the network of salary returns of advisers to Flavio Bolsonaro in the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro, participated.
Flávio Bolsonaro bought last month a $ 1.2 million mansion in the richest area of Brasilia.
Queiroz, an old friend of Bolsonaro when both were members of the Army, was arrested last year when he was a fugitive in the house of Wasseff, the president’s lawyer.
Jair Bolsonaro, in the middle of another controversy. AFP photo
Queiroz was also investigated due to money transfer of questionable origin to the president’s wife, Michelle Bolsonaro.
In the office of the then deputy Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, Queiroz’s daughter also worked, a famous personal trainer, who never signed up to go to work in Congress.
The network in the parliamentary office of Flavio Bolsonaro also kept as legislative employees to relatives of police officers and former syndicated police officers as part of the ‘militias’, the paramilitary groups that dispute territorial power and business with drug gangs in the communities and favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
These revelations come in the worst moment of Bolsonaro in popularity, down 25 percent since he took office on January 1, 2019.
On Saturday, for the third time since May 29, the opposition held demonstrations in more than 300 cities to request his resignation and claim for one of the 123 requests for impeachment against the ruler.
Among the impeachment requests are the two recent government scandals for alleged corruption in the purchase of vaccines against the coronavirus.
For this reason, the ultra-rightist launched a counterattack to point out the supreme court, which has begun to investigate him.
He suggested, through social networks, that there are videos linking a alleged case of pedophilia against a member of the Supreme Federal Court, the highest court in the country.
In a series of texts posted on Twitter, Bolsonaro tries to link the left with child abuse, in a message that occurred at the president’s worst judicial moment, investigated for malfeasance by order of Rosa Weber, a judge of the Federal Supreme Court.
“Let’s suppose that there is a filmed authority in a scene with minors (or with people of the same sex or traffickers) and that someone named ‘Daniel’ blackmails them by threatening to release this video, “said Bolsonaro.
The reference to Daniel is to the former guerrilla, former chief of staff of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and convicted of corruption José Dirceu, who used that nickname when he went to Cuba during the Brazilian military dictatorship in the 1970s.
Bolsonaro habitually testifies against members of the high court and one of his favorite targets is Luis Barrosso, who as head of electoral justice rejects the suspicions of fraud that the president has launched on the Brazilian electoral system when he began to appear defeated for the 2022 elections before Lula.
Bolsonaro began to be investigated because Ricardo Miranda, director of imports of the Ministry of Health, and his brother Luis Miranda, Bolsonarista deputy, told that in a meeting on March 20 with the president they narrated a network of lobbying that allowed an overbilling of 1,000 percent in a contract to purchase the Indian vaccine Covaxin through intermediaries.
This case joins another complaint in which the intermediary Davati, a medical supplies company owned by a Cuban-American, denounced that an official of the Ministry of Health he asked for 1 dollar of bribe for every AstraZeneca vaccine you purchase for the Brazilian vaccination program.
The rate of rejection of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro soared 12 points to 48% in Brazil, amid the scandal over alleged corruption in the purchase of vaccines against the coronavirus, according to a survey released this Monday.
The survey, prepared by the MDA firm and released by the National Transportation Confederation (CNT), shows a growing wear and tear of the Bolsonaro Administration, whose failure rate has gone from 36% in February to 48% today.
The popularity of the Executive headed by the far-right leader has also fallen in the same period from 33% to 28%, in the absence of a year and a half for the presidential elections, to which the president intends to run.
On the other hand, 62.5% of those surveyed disapproved of “the personal performance” of the Brazilian president, 11 points more than in the previous survey (51.4%), compared to 33.8% who considered it acceptable.
That is the worst data that Bolsonaro, captain of the Army reserve and denier on the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, since he assumed power in January 2019.
The results of the survey, which has a margin of error of 2.2 points, are the result of 2,002 interviews carried out in 137 municipalities of the country.
The fall in the popularity ratings of the Bolsonaro government occurs amid complaints about alleged irregularities committed in negotiations for the purchase of vaccines against covid-19, which has already killed almost 525,000 Brazilians.
The survey also placed Bolsonaro behind former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his greatest political adversary, in the intention of voting for the 2022 elections, to which everything indicates that the progressive leader will also appear.
Both in the stimulated or spontaneous vote, Lula would surpass Bolsonaro in the first round of the elections and also in a hypothetical ballot, by obtaining 52.6% of the votes compared to 33.3% that the far-right leader would achieve.
Source: Télam and EFE