By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Former Rio de Janeiro governor Anthony Garotinho and his wife, and also former head of the state, Rosinha Garotinho, were arrested on Wednesday for corruption, participation in a criminal organization and vote tampering.
According to news media G1 a Federal Police agent stated that the arrests of the two former heads of Rio’s state government were related to a plea-bargaining agreement with former JBS executive Ricardo Saud.
Garotinho claims that the arrests are payback for exposing the corruption scheme in Rio’s legislative assembly by his successor, now also former governor Sérgio Cabral. “They want to silence Garotinho once more,” said the press statement released by Garotinho’s defense team minutes after his arrest.
According to the note the judge who signed the arrest warrants, Judge Glaucenir de Oliveira, ‘was the same one who first ordered Garotinho to be arrested last year, shortly after he denounced Luiz Zveiter to Brazil’s Attorney General’s Office. ”
Popular as a radio host in the interior of Rio, Garotinho claimed Tuesday during his radio program, he was alerted by a prison agent about a meeting between Sergio Cabral and State Representative Jorge Picciani, president of Rio’s Legislative Assembly of Rio. “At that time, the president of Alerj [Picciani] would have said he would shoot the Garotinho in the face,” said the former governor.
Anthony Garotinho served, starting in 1999, as governor of Rio de Janeiro, stepping down in 2002 to become a Presidential candidate. The politician surprised political analysts by coming in third place in the Presidential run-offs.
Throughout the years, however, Garotinho, has often been linked to corruption and fraud scandals. After an unsuccessful bid to return to the governor’s mansion in 2014 he took over as municipal secretary in Campos dos Goytacazes where his wife Rosinha Matheus is currently mayor.