- Queiroz was arrested on Thursday morning in Atibaia, a town 40 miles north of Sao Paulo.
- Police chief Osvaldo Nico Goncalves said that when police raided the property Quieroz was asleep.
- There has been a long-running investigation against Flavio Bolsonaro of suspicions that he ran a corruption racket in his 15 years as a state legislator in Rio.
The Brazilian police have arrested a former driver to President Jair Bolsonaro’s son on allegations of corruption. This was due to suspicious movements of money Fabricio Queiroz made at a time he served as a driver to the President’s son, Flavio Bolsonaro, who now serves as a senator in Brazil.
Queiroz was arrested on Thursday morning in Atibaia, a town 40 miles north of Sao Paulo. He was arrested as part of a joint operation between the public prosecutors in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Quieroz, an ally to the president and a former police officer, was arrested in a property belonging to Fredrick Wassef, a lawyer who represents the president and his son.
Police chief Osvaldo Nico Goncalves said that when police raided the property Quieroz was asleep. “He handed himself over without any problems,” Goncalves said. “The only thing he said was that his health was in a bad way.” After the arrest, the police spent hours in the property combing through it thereafter left with two bags of evidence. The police officers also visited an address in northern Rio de Janeiro to search it in relation to the same investigation.
According to authorities, the investigation was launched after the government’s watchdog for financial transactions detected suspicious movements in Quieroz’s bank account. The financial regulator revealed that most of the payments to Queiroz were made on pay days for people in Flavio’s payroll. The money may form part of a corruption scheme in Flavio’s office while he worked as a lawmaker in the legislature in Rio State that involved misappropriation of salaries of his employees.
“I face today’s events with calm. The truth will prevail! Another piece was moved on the board to attack Bolsonaro,” Flavio Bolsonaro said. “The game is rough!” There has been a long-running investigation against Flavio Bolsonaro of suspicions that he ran a corruption racket in his 15 years as a state legislator in Rio.
Queiroz is suspected to have played a major role in it. Flavio has, in the past, denied any wrongdoing while in office. Last year in December, Rio prosecutors carried out searches in 22 properties including a chocolate shop owned by Flavio.
The arrest comes at a time when questions were being raised about the former driver’s whereabouts. The opponents of President Bolsonaro were concerned about how Queiroz evaded the authorities who were searching for him. However, the president has said that the prosecutors and the media are trying to damage his administration by tainting his son’s reputation.
Critics have said that the corruption case will damage the president’s image at a time he has been globally condemned for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 50,000 Brazilians.
“The president is already very weak and this will weaken him further,” said Cristiano Rodrigues, a political scientist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais State. “The contrast between Bolsonaro’s words and his practices will be educational for voters,” he added. “Bolsonaro’s credibility, popularity and his ability to govern will be severely diminished.”