BRASILIA (Reuters) - The son of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is facing accusations of money laundering in connection with at least two luxury apartments he purchased in Rio de Janeiro, according to federal prosecutors and a local news report published Wednesday.
Flavio Bolsonaro, a newly inaugurated federal senator, has been dogged by corruption allegations that are sullying the squeaky clean, law-and-order image his father used to ride to an easy presidential election last year.
Flavio Bolsonaro has refused to meet with prosecutors to be questioned and repeatedly dodges journalists’ questions on the allegations against him. He said in a written statement that the latest accusations against him were baseless and would be tossed out.
Brazil’s Supreme Court earlier this month rejected an appeal by Flavio to halt a sprawling probe into numerous suspicious cash payments made into the account of his former driver, Fabricio Queiroz.
Flavio Bolsonaro, his father and Queiroz have all said they are innocent of any crime.
The scandal arose after the Council for Financial Activities Control (COAF) identified 48 suspicious deposits worth a total of 100,000 reais ($27,005.13) deposited in a single month in 2007 into Flavio’s bank account.
COAF also found 7 million reais in suspicious financial transactions in accounts belonging to Queiroz.
The O Globo newspaper reported on Wednesday that it had viewed a federal police investigation into real estate deals Flavio carried out between 2014 and 2017 that resulted in an “exceptional increase” in his net worth. The police document did not provide details on what apartment deals or amounts of money were involved.
That time period is roughly the same as when the 7 million reais in suspicious transactions flowed through the bank account of Queiroz.
The prosecutor general’s office confirmed it had received the case from federal police, but provided no details. Federal police did not respond to a request for comment.
Reporting by Ricardo Brito in Brasilia and Brad Brooks in Sao Paulo; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Andrea Ricci