1706593128 In Brazil the Bolsonaro clan is being targeted by the

In Brazil, the Bolsonaro clan is being targeted by the judiciary on suspicion of illegal espionage

Jair Bolsonaro (right) with his son Carlos, in Rio de Janeiro, September 29, 2022. Jair Bolsonaro (right) with his son Carlos, in Rio de Janeiro, September 29, 2022. BRUNA PRADO / AP

Pressure increased on former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's entourage on Monday, January 29, as part of the investigation into allegations of illegal spying on political opponents during his term in office.

“New searches were carried out as a continuation” of an operation carried out on Thursday “with the aim of investigating a criminal organization within the Brazilian intelligence service.” [ABIN] »Said the Federal Police (PF) in a press release. According to the court ruling authorizing the searches on Monday in several Brazilian states, one of the targets of those searches was Carlos Bolsonaro, Rio de Janeiro city councilor and second of the former far-right president's four sons.

Investigators suspect ABIN of using Israeli spyware FirstMile to spy on hundreds of politicians and public figures during Bolsonaro's presidency (2019-2022). The PF explained in its press release that this “new phase” of the operation launched last Thursday targeted the “political core” to identify the main recipients and beneficiaries of information illegally produced by the ABIN through clandestine actions.

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The court ruling, signed by Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes, specifically mentions a request for information from the ABIN regarding investigations “in which the President is involved”. [Bolsonaro] and three of his sons. A request that, according to investigators, was made in February 2020 by an assistant of Carlos Bolsonaro to an employee of Alexandre Ramagem, then head of the secret service, during a message exchange on WhatsApp reproduced in the court document.

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“One of my sons would never make such a request, and if he had, he would have been rejected by Mr. Ramagem,” Jair Bolsonaro said Monday during an interview with CNN Brasil. “I have never received any information about anyone’s whereabouts. “I have never needed, requested or received the slightest report from ABIN,” the former president stressed, saying he was a victim of “persecution.” According to him, his son Carlos will be questioned by the police on Tuesday. But one of the family's lawyers, Fabio Wajngarten, then explained the father on the social network.

The former ABIN boss, now a federal deputy in Mr Bolsonaro's Liberal Party, was the target of one of the twenty-one searches carried out on Thursday in connection with the affair.

Leak rumors

On Monday, the police visited a total of nine addresses in the states of Rio de Janeiro (southeast), Goias (central west) and Bahia (northeast) as well as in the federal district of Brasilia. Carlos Bolsonaro's home in Rio de Janeiro and his office in the municipal assembly were searched. Police also went to a residence belonging to Jair Bolsonaro and his first three sons in Angra dos Reis, a coastal city about 150 km from Rio.

The ex-president's third son, MP Eduardo Bolsonaro, condemned what he said were the “excesses” committed in the searches and denounced a legal measure as “illegal and immoral.” He also denied rumors that the Bolsonaro clan fled by boat after learning of the searches. “As soon as they knew that the PF was at the residence, Jair and Carlos came home,” he assured. Lawyer Fabio Wajngarten said they left at dawn on a fishing trip. Images from GloboNews television showed police officers leaving Angra dos Reis' home as Jair Bolsonaro and his son Carlos watched, filmed at the front door.

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In the court document that gave the green light to the first searches, Judge Moraes was among those spied on, as were former President of the Chamber of Deputies Rodrigo Maia and Camilo Santana, governor of the state of Ceara (northeast). ). ) then and today Minister of Education under the left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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Jair Bolsonaro, 68, was sentenced last year to an eight-year ban for spreading false information in the electronic voting system and has been surrounded by business, particularly corruption, since his defeat in the late 2022 presidential election to Lula.

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The world with AFP