The Bolsonaro family returned to the center of the Brazilian news this week, in a new scandal revealed by yet another former adviser to the clan. This time, Marcelo Luiz Nogueira de Santos, former advisor to senator Flávio Bolsonaro (Patriotas), and who says he is very close to the family, denounced and detailed a scheme headed by lawyer Ana Cristina Valle, former wife of President Jair Bolsonaro (without broken). According to him, Ana Cristina was in charge, in the offices of then state deputy Flávio Bolsonaro and councilor Carlos Bolsonaro (Republicans), the entire scheme of cracks, which consists of hiring phantom employees for the offices and withholding all, or most, of their salaries.
“She kept 80% of my salary,” Nogueira denounced to the Metrópoles portal. According to him, the scheme would have been carried out over the years, and Ana Cristina even had a share of her 13th salary, vacations and even the income tax refund. “[Ela] took the proportional that we received. The 13th, vacations, all that stuff”, said the former employee to UOL. The plot narrated by Nogueira to journalists involves personal details of the family, exposes the intimacy of the Bolsonaros and gives more information about a case that is already in the hands of the Justice.
Both Flávio and Carlos Bolsonaro are targets of inquiries that separately investigate the hiring of phantom employees in their offices. This week, the decision of the Rio de Janeiro Court to break the banking and tax secrecy of Carlos, Ana Cristina Valle and 25 other people and seven companies became public. The Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro, which opened investigations in July 2019 into the hiring of Carlos Bolsonaro, claims to have evidence that several advisors were not working in the house. Thus, Carlos can join his brother, Flávio, who, in October of last year, was denounced for embezzlement, money laundering and criminal organization in the case of cracks.
The president’s sons are said to have taken charge of the scheme themselves after Bolsonaro Sr. discovered that Ana Cristina was betraying him with a family security guard. According to Nogueira, the president filed for divorce in 2007 and would have authorized Carlos and Flávio to command the collection of payments from their alleged employees.
Nogueira says that he started working for the family when he joined Flávio Bolsonaro’s office. There, he says that he provided customer service and correspondence from 2003 to 2007, and after that he ended up becoming a kind of direct advisor to Ana Cristina. In total, she worked for 14 years with the family, even taking care of Jair Renan Bolsonaro, the president’s youngest son. “It was alone, no one had time for him,” he said. He says he has no way of proving all the accusations he is making. But the proximity to the family is attested by social networks. About two months ago, Jair Renan posted a photo on Instagram alongside Nogueira, to pay a birthday tribute. In the caption, the youngest one calls Nogueira a “great friend” and states that he “taught a lot, especially how to become a good person”.
According to the public accusations, even the mansion where Ana Cristina now lives with her son, Jair Renan, in Lago Sul, in Brasília, would have been bought through a scheme. The property would be registered in the name of oranges “to avoid scandal”, according to him.
The former employee is the second former advisor to Flávio Bolsonaro who denounces the wage refund scheme. In November last year Luiza Souza Paes confirmed to the Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro that she transferred more than 90% of her salary to Fabrício Queiroz. Luiza presented bank statements to prove that, from 2011 to 2017, she transferred 160,000 reais to Queiroz. Appointed as the operator of cracks, Queiroz was arrested last year, but has been free since March of this year.
“Faithful and passionate”
The accusations that fall on the Bolsonaros and their ex-wife come on the eve of the September 7 demonstration, when the president summoned his allies to take to the streets in their support. Carolina de Paula, a political scientist at the Institute for Social and Political Studies (Iesp) at UERJ, believes that Luiz Nogueira’s statements are unlikely to have any impact on next Tuesday’s actions.
In May, she and other researchers conducted a survey of voters who voted for president in 2018 for Data Iesp. “What we saw is that the issue of cracks for the public more loyal to the president, which is made up of older people associated with religion, it doesn’t stick,” he said. “They don’t see the cracks as a practice of corruption, they say it is something linked to Brazilian culture and they do not think that Bolsonaro is responsible for the children’s act”, he explains. And it is this audience that will be on the streets on the next 7th, according to her. “That is why, [as denúncias de agora] they won’t have an impact on September 7th,” he says. “Unless something very strong happens with Bolsonaro. But still, it depends on what it is, because it is a very loyal and passionate audience”.
On the other hand, there is a public disappointed with the president who could be more impacted by these new allegations. “These are people who voted for him because of the Lava Jato speech and now they regret it”, explains Carolina. “Within this group, which criticizes Bolsonaro, although it still supports him, these new accusations will have repercussions, because they solidify the doubts they were already raising.” Pedro Estevam Serrano, professor of Law at PUC-SP, agrees with her. “Bolsonaro has a moralistic discourse on corruption and this [a denúncia das rachadinhas] It wears him down in front of a part of his electorate, who are very conscientious about corruption issues”, he says.
However, Serrano clarifies that, in the legal sphere, there are no implications for the president so far. “Only if there is some form of his participation in the crime”, he says. “What can be considered is that he may have had the power to interrupt the conduct, have been aware of the conduct, and did not interrupt it, but for that it is necessary to investigate.” For Leonardo Yarochewsky, criminal lawyer and Ph.D. in criminal sciences at UFMG, it is not because children commit crimes that parents will be held responsible. “There is no direct implication for the crime committed by the children”, he says. “Now, if Bolsonaro commits other crimes as a result of this, such as, for example, obstruction of justice, that is, preventing the investigation from taking place, then he can answer for that.”
The report tried to contact senator Flavio Bolsonaro, but received no return of the message left in his office. In the office of Councilor Carlos Bolsonaro, no one answered. The report was unable to contact Ana Cristina Valle.
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