The Bolsonaro household suffered a extreme blow within the first week of November. It was not Donald Trump’s loss within the US election, provided that the businessman is the benchmark by which Jair Bolsonaro tries to mannequin his presidency in Brazil. On November 3, the general public prosecutor of Rio de Janeiro has named the president’s eldest son, Flavio Bolsonaro, as the top of a prison group, formally accusing him of embezzlement, cash laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of two.Three million reais ($554.000).

Jair Bolsonaro’s Picture Disaster


The accusations in opposition to Flavio Bolsonaro pertain to the interval between 2007 and 2018, when he served 4 phrases as state deputy. The chronology of the details and the characters concerned expose the shadowy political trajectory of his father’s path to the presidency of Brazil.

Splitting the Wage

Jair Bolsonaro has 5 kids. His three eldest sons — 01, 02 and 03, as he refers to them — adopted their father into politics. Flavio was born in 1981; Carlos, in 1982, and Eduardo in 1984. On the time, Bolsonaro Sr. was a paratrooper within the military, the place he met Fabricio Queiroz, who turned a navy police officer in 1987, serving within the rank of lieutenant till 2018. Jair Bolsonaro’s navy profession ended after he threatened to plant bombs in military barracks in retaliation for low wages. He was tried, acquitted and despatched to the reserves in 1987, coming into public life the next yr.

Upon successful his first time period as state deputy in Rio de Janeiro, in 2003, Flavio Bolsonaro employed Mariana Mota, a pal of his mom (to whom Jair Bolsonaro was not married) as an adviser. The general public prosecutor designated her as the primary operator of the so-called rachadinha (wage break up), a scheme the place workers are “employed” solely to return most of their earnings to the employer. These “wage splits” represent the principle costs in opposition to the president’s eldest son.

In 2007, Flavio Bolsonaro started his second time period and employed his father’s military pal, Fabricio Queiroz — in addition to Queiroz’s spouse and daughter. He additionally employed the spouse and mom of the chief of considered one of Brazil’s largest militias, Workplace of Crime, Adriano da Nobrega, who ran an extortion racket in ​​Rio. Flavio Bolsonaro had already awarded Nobrega the Tiradentes medal, the best honor of the legislative meeting of Rio de Janeiro, in 2005, when the previous policeman captain was serving jail time for homicide. In 2007, Nobrega was launched after Jair Bolsonaro, then a federal deputy with the right-wing Progressive Get together, appealed to the chamber of deputies in his favor.

Nobrega was killed in a police ambush earlier this yr, when he was on the run after being accused of the homicide of Councilwoman Marielle Franco. The case brought on widespread nationwide commotion. Nobrega and Fabricio Queiroz had been buddies. 

Debt and Actual Property

The checklist of suspected prison exercise in reference to Flavio Bolsonaro is prolonged. Primarily, it entails money funds for actual property and money owed, in a rustic the place money is notoriously linked to unlawful actions akin to drug trafficking and extortion. In 2008, Flavio Bolsonaro paid 86,779.43 reais (round $40,000 on the time) in money for the acquisition of 12 industrial places of work in a high-end shopping center in Rio, which he resold lower than a month later at a wholesome revenue. The next yr, he spent 31,000 reais in money to repay his losses on the inventory trade.

In 2012, 638,000 reais in money went towards the acquisition of two properties in Copacabana, on which Bolosnaro Jr. declared a revenue of practically 300% once they had been offered in 2014. In 2016, he acquired a franchise department of luxurious chocolate shops. An investigation by the general public prosecutor’s workplace concluded that the institution was used for cash laundering because it offered merchandise under the checklist value whereas filling invoices with integral values.

Fabricio Queiroz, in the meantime, was investigated till 2018, when the general public prosecutor’s workplace identified suspicious actions on his accounts within the order of 5.Three million reais between 2014 and 2015, and an additional 1.2 million in 2016 and 2017. A businessman in control of Jair Bolsonaro’s presidential marketing campaign, Paulo Marinho, stated that the Bolsonaros had been warned of the federal police operation to detain Queiroz on the eve of the election. Queiroz fled, remaining at giant till June this yr, when he was discovered and arrested on the nation residence of Flavio Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Frederick Wassef. 

One other explosive testimony by Flavio’s former adviser, Luiza Souza Paes, revealed that between 2011 and 2017, she handed on greater than 90% of her wage again to Queiroz, offering financial institution statements as proof. Between December 2014 and November 2017, she was at her designated office at Rio de Janeiro’s meeting simply thrice.

The investigation into Flavio Bolsonaro has continued in parallel over the previous two years, monitoring the suspicious hiring of advisers by the household. In 2018, Flavio was elected senator, Carlos councilman, Eduardo deputy, and Jair Bolsonaro president. An investigation by O Globo revealed final yr that since 1991, the Bolsonaros — nicknamed “familicia” in Brazil — had employed 102 individuals with household ties to work of their 4 respective places of work. In whole, 15 of Flavio Bolsonaro’s aides had been denounced. If the courtroom accepts the movement in opposition to the president’s eldest son, he’ll change into a defendant in a prison case. Fabricio Queiroz has served a month in jail and at present stays underneath home arrest.

Downward Spiral

With these revelations, the downward spiral of Jair Bolsonaro’s authorities appears to be growing. Bolsonaro was elected on the promise of ending corruption within the nation, distancing himself from “previous politics” that distributed excessive posts to politicians with a questionable previous in trade for help, in addition to ending advantages and privileges for these in public workplace.

Within the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, after making an attempt to intervene within the federal police investigation into his kids, his primary asset within the struggle in opposition to corruption, Choose Sergio Moro, who was accountable for the arrest of former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, resigned his submit as minister of justice, accusing the president of political interference for private causes.

Bolsonaro sought assist from social gathering politicians he stated he disliked, who’re recognized for shifting positions and accepting cash for help, and not too long ago confronted public embarrassment when his deputy within the senate, Chico Rodrigues, was caught by the federal police with 33,000 reais in his underwear, a few of which was stashed between his buttocks. Along with the detention of Fabricio Queiroz, Flavio Bolsonaro faces attainable arrest; the general public prosecutor has demanded that the senator hand over his mandate on the finish of the investigation if he’s convicted.

All of those occasions betray Jair Bolsonaro as a politician making an attempt to steadiness himself in a tightrope of recognition. He was elected on the right-wing wave that has swept many components of the globe in recent times, spurred on, to a level, by the election of Donald Trump in america. The Bolsonaro household even employed Trump’s controversial marketing campaign strategist, Steve Bannon. Adopting methods seen within the 2016 US election, Bolsonaro’s marketing campaign employed bots to affect social media narratives at an opportune time when Brazil’s leftist authorities opened the black field of corruption, which began by exploding the then-ruling Employees’ Get together from inside. Bolsonaro assumed the place of his center title, Messias — the savior — who would rid the nation of corruption, with weapons if obligatory; his marketing campaign gimmick was to make a weapon gesture with each fingers.

Tightrope of Recognition

Bolsonaro took workplace with a 50% approval ranking. When the primary indicators of household corruption started to appear, the index dropped to round 40%. A lot of this falling reputation was sustained on creating smoke screens, making fiery speeches in opposition to imaginary opponents and making an attempt to divert consideration. On the finish of 2019, when the rachadinha case made headlines, rankings dropped additional, to round 30%. As Bolsonaro fumbled with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, following Trump in denial of the seriousness of the risk and disdain for preventative measures in opposition to the virus, Sergio Moro’s resignation introduced the president’s reputation right down to the 20% vary.

Throughout this nadir of his authorities, the nationwide congress demanded emergency help for the inhabitants unable to work and who couldn’t survive with out monetary help. Roughly $100 in month-to-month allowance was permitted and, as a consequence, Bolsonaro realized that he may purchase again his reputation since most of those that obtained it believed they’ve the president to thank for it.

Bolsonaro then started to struggle for the upkeep of emergency help, which diverted consideration from the issues of corruption within the household. However Brazil just isn’t a wealthy nation, and monetary help is being decreased progressively; it’s now at $50.

With out the acquisition of recognition, with nothing to hide the tenebrious connections that marked his total political trajectory and that of his kids, and with out his idol in energy — Bolsonaro even stated “I really like you” to Trump through the UN Common Meeting final yr — the clouds look like gathering above the heads of the Bolsonaro familicia.

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror’s editorial coverage.