Former Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s home raided, six arrested
Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who lost a re-election bid last year, is now the subject of multiple investigations into various alleged acts of wrongdoing.
One of those probes is centered on allegations of falsification of COVID-19 vaccination records, which included a raid by federal police on Bolsonaro's home in Brasilia on Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported.
That raid was part of a coordinated operation that included searches and seizures of at least 10 other individuals and at least six arrests, including some of the former president's top aides.
Bolsonaro Raided, Top Aides Arrested
The Daily Mail noted that former President Bolsonaro was outspoken against the COVID-19 vaccines and has long insisted that he never received it, yet federal records briefly showed that he was fully vaccinated in late 2022, just prior to his traveling to the United States for a few months when his term in office ended, only for those records to then be removed from the system a short time later due to an "error."
Brazilian authorities are now looking into whether the vaccination records had been falsified in order to allow for international travel for Bolsonaro, his wife Michelle, and their daughter Laura, as well as the former president's top aide, Army Col. Mauricio Cid -- who was one of the six individuals arrested -- along with his wife and daughter.
Reuters reported that Bolsonaro spoke with reporters following the raid on his home, confirmed that his phone had been seized, and denied any wrongdoing as he also insisted that he had never been vaccinated. He said, "For my part, there was nothing falsified. I didn't take the vaccine. Period."
The outlet noted that in addition to Cid, two other top security aides for the former president, personal security officers Max Guilherme and Sergio Cordeiro, were also raided and arrested on allegations that their vaccination records had been falsified in order for them to accompany Bolsonaro on his visit earlier this year to the U.S.
Allegations of Falsification Denied
CNN reported that the raid on former President Bolsonaro's home was also confirmed by his wife Michelle in a statement posted to social media that said, "Today the Federal Police carried out a search and seizure of our house, we don’t know the reason and even our lawyer did not have access to the files. Only my husband’s cell phone was seized."
Brazil's former first lady added, "We learned from the press that the reason would be 'falsification of the vaccination card' of my husband and our daughter Laura. In my house, only I was vaccinated."
The outlet noted that Brazil's federal police said that they were reviewing all seized materials and conducting interviews related to the investigation of allegations that the forgery of vaccination cards "resulted in the alteration of the truth about a legally relevant fact, that is, the condition of immunization against Covid-19 of the beneficiaries."
"The facts investigated theoretically constitute crimes of infraction of preventive health measure, criminal association, insertion of false data in information systems, and corruption of minors," the police added.
Other Investigations into Alleged Crimes
The Associated Press reported that in addition to the alleged vaccination card falsification, former President Bolsonaro is also being investigated for a number of other alleged crimes, including his purported role in an angry protest at the capitol by his supporters on Jan. 8.
He is also being scrutinized for claiming during last year's elections that Brazil's voting machines are not secure and that he has deliberately spread other falsehoods and disinformation, particularly with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic vaccines and other treatments.
Further, Bolsonaro has also been accused of waging genocide against certain indigenous peoples by allowing for and encouraging mining and timber operations in the Amazon rainforest.
On top of that, NPR reported that Bolsonaro is facing potential trouble over sets of expensive jewelry that were supposed gifts to the then-president and first lady in 2021 from the Saudi Royal Family that are estimated to be worth several million dollars.
That jewelry was seized by Brazilian customs agents from a government aide at that time and have been held in custody ever since amid accusations that Bolsonaro intended to receive the valuable gifts without declaring them or paying taxes on them, as well as allegedly making multiple attempts to retrieve them from customs.
Per the AP, Bolsonaro has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing in any of the assorted accusations against him, and recently returned to Brazil following several months in Florida to reassert himself as a political leader in his country.