Brazilian prosecutors charged the eldest son of President Jair Bolsonaro with money-laundering and embezzlement in a case that threatens to further tarnish the anti-corruption credentials of the presidential family.
Senator Flavio Bolsonaro was accused of participating in a criminal organisation that appropriated salaries from employees of his previous office as a Rio de Janeiro state legislator between 2007 and 2018, according to a Wednesday statement by prosecutors. He was charged along with other 16 people, including his former aide Fabricio Queiroz, arrested in June during the same investigation.
The senator denied wrongdoing. “The charges were already expected, but they’re unfounded,” he said in a statement.
The case involving his son is one of Bolsonaro’s legal headaches. The president also faces a probe into whether he tried to meddle in police investigations by appointing a regional head of the federal police in Rio de Janeiro, and eventually replacing former Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who opposed the move. The departure of the star Lava Jato judge earlier this year represented a blow to the far-right leader, who swept into power on a strong anti-corruption platform in 2018.
Flavio Bolsonaro was elected senator in the same year and tried to stop the investigation against him at the supreme court, but had his requests denied. If prosecutors’ charges are accepted by a judge, he may face trial at a lower court in Rio de Janeiro.
Prosecutors said the case runs under court secrecy and that no more information about it can be provided at this time.