Jair Bolsonaro received Brazil’s final presidential election pledging to scrub up politics, and since taking workplace in 2019, he has mentioned a minimum of 237 instances that his authorities has “zero corruption.”
In latest weeks, nonetheless, Mr. Bolsonaro has anxious in regards to the prospect of jail himself, in response to two senior officers who heard these considerations from the president and spoke anonymously to explain personal conversations.
Regardless of his assertions, Mr. Bolsonaro and his inside circle have confronted investigations on accusations together with the embezzlement of public funds, theft of workers wages and mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The inquiries have been staved off or blocked to this point, given his political affect and presidential immunity.
However that will change if Mr. Bolsonaro loses Sunday’s presidential election.
“After leaving workplace, there isn’t any immunity, none, for crimes dedicated by a former president in Brazil,” mentioned Eloísa Machado, a regulation professor at Fundação Getulio Vargas, a college and analysis group in São Paulo, Brazil.
Brazilian regulation leaves much less room for interpretation on the difficulty than in america, the place former President Donald J. Trump’s assertions of presidential immunity have helped him maneuver round investigations and lawsuits.
In Brazil, solely the lawyer common can examine an performing president, and solely the Supreme Court docket can prosecute one, which “positively helps forestall investigations,” in response to Davi Tangerino, a regulation professor on the State College of Rio de Janeiro.
In 2019, Mr. Bolsonaro appointed Augusto Aras as lawyer common, ignoring a two-decade custom of federal prosecutors’ selecting their chief. Since then, the lawyer common’s workplace has shelved greater than 100 inquiry requests, most associated to Mr. Bolsonaro’s chaotic and presumably corrupt response to the pandemic and his assaults on the Supreme Court docket.
“The lawyer common gave him a defend from any legal responsibility,” Ms. Machado mentioned.
As well as, Mr. Bolsonaro and two of his sons have been implicated in allegations that they took parts of workers members’ wages throughout their phrases as congressmen. Final yr, the lawyer common’s workplace opened inquiries into the president’s instances, however there isn’t any motion on them.
A few months in the past, the household funds had been thrown into the highlight with reporting by the information web site UOL indicating that half the household’s 107 actual property purchases had been purchased with money. Prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro are analyzing whether or not 25 of these had been bought with cash siphoned from workers wages.
The president has additionally managed to maintain a good maintain on Congress, which has deferred greater than 130 impeachment requests. The Brazilian information shops Estadão and Piauí reported that, in alternate, his administration has allowed a handful of members of Congress to grant greater than $8 billion for his or her regional electoral bases. A few weeks in the past, the federal police arrested two individuals linked to this alleged embezzlement scheme, dubbed “the key funds.”
To defend himself and his circle from scrutiny, Mr. Bolsonaro has additionally prolonged protections towards dozens of requests for data, imposing 100-year secrecy classifications on information just like the names of people that visited the presidential palace and communications from the Ministry of Overseas Affairs.
Mr. da Silva, who went to jail for corruption, has used the difficulty in his marketing campaign, vowing, “On my first day of presidency, I’ll raise these secrecies.”
André Spigariol contributed reporting.