By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Investigation into Flávio Bolsonaro’s office in the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro (Alerj) when he was a state deputy, has found a total of 37 properties supposedly linked to the PSL senator, his family, and the company Bolsontini Chocolates e Café.
There are fourteen apartments and 23 commercial areas in Copacabana, Botafogo, Barra da Tijuca, and Jacarepaguá. The parliamentarian says he did not commit any crime and claims to be a victim of persecution.
In the request to lift banking and tax confidentiality of Flávio Bolsonaro and 94 other people and companies, made on April 15th, the Public Prosecutor’s Office said it had already gathered information that he had invested R$9.4 (US$2.35) million in the acquisition of 19 properties.
“The sales declared between 2010 and 2017 would represent a profitability of R$3 million.” On March 21st, however, the 37 properties were listed in a request for information from Rio de Janeiro’s registry offices.
The document on real estate is signed by three state prosecutors, who had requested copies of certificates to determine if there is any liability linked to the property, who owns it and when and how it was acquired.
Capital misappropriation is one of the lines of investigation of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the case of alleged irregular payments detected in the office of then state deputy Flávio Bolsonaro, as well as atypical banking transactions in the accounts of his former advisor Fabrício Queiroz.
The investigation began in February 2018 after a report by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo on the evolution of the Bolsonaro family’s assets in January 2018.
On April 26th, the senator delivered his defense. He said that the properties were not worth what was estimated by the city, because “any resident knows that these amounts are overcharged by the government to increase tax revenue such as IPTU and ITBI and that, if advertised, property could never be sold for the amount estimated by the city.”
According to him, the prosecution disregarded the ways and context in which the properties had been negotiated and was confused on the dates of “buying and selling”.
On May 17th, 2018, prosecutor Tulio Caiban Bruno moved to dismiss the case because he did not see “any informative elements alluding to the practice of previous criminal offense by Congressman Flávio Bolsonaro from which the product or financial result was being hidden or concealed through the acquisition of real estate.” On May 18th, Deputy-Prosecutor General Alexandre Araripe Marinho, approved the dismissal.
On February 28th, 2019, the Specialized Action Group to Combat Corruption (Gaecc) of the Military Police of Rio requested the reopening of the case, which occurred on March 14th due to the investigation into the misappropriation of money from Alerj employees in Flávio Bolsonaro’s cabinet.
The senator has claimed that “the leaked information about the legislator’s assets is incorrect. He remains the victim of continuous and constant leaks of matters contained in a lawsuit that has sealed as confidential,” says the note.
“I have always declared all my assets to the IRS, and everything is consistent with my income. I have a clean past and have never committed any irregularity in my life,” he added.