PGR has 92 preliminary investigations against Bolsonaro, part of them for suspected crimes committed in the pandemic

BRASILIA — The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has already opened 92 preliminary investigations concerning the President of the Republic, part of them on suspicion of crimes committed during the pandemic. So far, however, it has not pointed out any crime that would have been committed by Bolsonaro related to his role in combating Covid-19.

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The data were informed by the PGR to the STF in September. The material, however, did not contain details of the procedures. GLOBO asked the Prosecutor’s Office for updated information yesterday, but received no response. The preliminary investigation is the first stage of investigation, in which it is verified whether there is a justification for the initiation of an investigation.

These procedures are aimed at suspicions that Bolsonaro would have incurred a breach of preventive sanitary measure and an epidemic crime, by promoting agglomerations and exempting the use of masks. In one of the most controversial manifestations of the PGR, the Deputy Attorney General of the Republic Lindôra Araújo said she saw no crime in Bolsonaro’s decision not to wear a mask, and raised doubts about the effectiveness of the protective material, whose importance is widely propagated by specialists.

The Attorney’s Inactions

epidemic crime

In response to a request for an investigation made by former PGR Cláudio Fonteles and other former members of the agency, Aras pointed out that the crime cannot be characterized as an epidemic, in an opinion issued in February this year. The PGR wrote that there is “material impossibility for the outbreak of the new coronavirus to be attributed to a person”, because the spread is diffuse.

200 thousand killed by covid-19 in Brazil.  São Francisco Xavier Cemetery, Caju Photo: Hermes de Paula / Agencia O Globo
200 thousand killed by covid-19 in Brazil. São Francisco Xavier Cemetery, Caju Photo: Hermes de Paula / Agencia O Globo


The PGR, in an opinion by the Assistant Attorney General of the Republic Lindôra Araújo, even cast doubts on the effectiveness of the use of masks, contrary to scientific evidence. With this argument, Lindôra filed a request for investigation against Bolsonaro for the crime of infraction of preventive sanitary measure, in an opinion issued in August of this year.

Visit to Operation Welcome.  Visit to the Randon 4 Operation Welcome camp. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR
Visit to Operation Welcome. Visit to the Randon 4 Operation Welcome camp. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

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danger to life

The PGR also analyzed the possibility of the crime of danger to the life of others being imputed to Jair Bolsonaro, for having circulated in the street despite having contact with people infected with Covid-19. There was a recommendation to comply with quarantine, but the PGR understood, in an opinion from April last year, that there was no crime.

Manaus (AM), 05/28/2020 - Campaign Hospital against Covid19 AM Photo: Sandro Pereira/Fotoarena/O Globo Agency
Manaus (AM), 05/28/2020 – Campaign Hospital against Covid19 AM Photo: Sandro Pereira/Fotoarena/O Globo Agency

Freedom of expression

After statements in which Bolsoanaro cast doubts on the seriousness of Covid-19, comparing it to a “little flu”, deputy attorneys general of the Republic asked Aras to take action and issue a recommendation on his conduct. On the occasion, in March of last year, Aras defended Bolsonaro’s “freedom of expression”.

Oxygen crisis in Manaus Photo: Agência O Globo
Oxygen crisis in Manaus Photo: Agência O Globo

Final report delivered

Less than 24 hours after Covid’s CPI approved the final report with the request for the indictment of President Jair Bolsonaro, the top committee went to the Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, to deliver the opinion and demand the opening and deepening of the investigations from the work of the collegiate. They also presented the document to the Minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Alexandre de Moraes, rapporteur of the inquiry that investigates the dissemination of fake news, and to the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG).

Pressed by Minister Rosa Weber, of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has already asked to open an inquiry to investigate suspected malfeasance by Bolsonaro regarding alleged irregularities in the purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin.

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After leaving the PGR, the president of the CPI, Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), used the Senate rostrum to reiterate the need for the attorney general to take action regarding what was found by the commission.

“We hope, as I told Aras, that he has a commitment to the nation: 600,000 lives cannot be shelved. Whatever the argument, we will be discussing it publicly. The confidential documents are compromising and will be made available so that they can continue the investigation – he said.

In the morning, during the hearing, Aziz had already charged the attorney general. GLOBO learned that the senator showed concern with statements made by government legislators that Aras would file the CPI report in the short term. According to people present at the meeting, Aziz attributed such speculations to the leader of the government in the Chamber, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), one of the targets of the opinion, to senator Jorginho Mello (PL-SC, and to a “son of the president” , who was not nominated. Aras replied that he had no close relationship with any of the aforementioned characters. In addition to Aziz, the rapporteur, Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL), the vice president of the CPI, Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP) were also present. ), as well as Humberto Costa (PT-PE), Otto Alencar (PSD-BA), Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE) and Simone Tebet (MDB-MS).

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In private conversations, those around Aras have recalled that a large part of the denunciations made by the commission are already the subject of ongoing investigations, such as the suspicion of malfeasance by Bolsonaro in the Covaxin case.

The Attorney General’s Office also asked for the opening of an inquiry against former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, because of the collapse in the supply of oxygen in Manaus, under suspicion of the crime of malfeasance.

Yesterday, Aras’ interlocutors stressed that the CPI was to send documents that support the conclusions of the opinion, which had not occurred until last night. Internally, senators express distrust of the attorney general and say they do not know what to expect from him from now on. The opinion of the CPI proposes the accountability of 78 people and two companies. Bolsonaro is charged with nine crimes.

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