The scandals involving the Bolsonaro family seem to never end—and they are getting more and more serious by the day. Already in serious trouble because of the 48 suspicious deposits that were made in his bank account, Flávio Bolsonaro, the eldest son of the president, must now answer to a much more serious charge: his ties to the militia suspected of the murder of Marielle Franco.
As revealed by the media outlets of the Globo group, the presidential family’s eldest son, recently elected senator, at the time when he was state deputy in the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro, hired as part of his staff the mother and the wife of former army captain Adriano Magalhães da Nóbrega, identified as a leader of the “Escritório do Crime” militia, one of the oldest and most violent in the city—and, according to what has been uncovered in the investigations, the likely culprit for the assassination of municipal councilor Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes.
On Tuesday, as part of “Operation Untouchables,” arrest warrants were issued for five individuals suspected of involvement in the assassination of Marielle Franco—including for Adriano Magalhães, currently a fugitive, who is a personal friend of Fabrício Queiroz, Flávio Bolsonaro’s former adviser, and a friend of the entire presidential family. Investigators found suspicious transactions in Magalhães’s bank account for a total of 7 million reals (around $1.85 million) over three years, impossible to explain from his modest official income (including a transfer of 24,000 reals—around $6,400—to the president’s wife).
It was the same Queiroz who told the current president’s son to hire the mother and the wife of his friend Magalhães as part of his staff, with salaries almost seven times the minimum wage. Flávio Bolsonaro has denied responsibility for anything having to do with this scandal: “I cannot be accused for deeds that I don’t know anything about,” he said in a statement.
It is indisputable, however, that Bolsonaro’s eldest son pushed to award Adriano Magalhães da Nóbrega, a former member of the BOPE (Special Operations Battalion of the Rio Military Police), with the Tiradentes Medal, the highest honor granted by the Legislative Assembly of Rio, and voted against granting the same honor to Franco.
His father showed a similar attitude. He was the only presidential candidate who had no comment at all about the murder of the municipal councilor and leader of PSOL. He was also the only one to defend the notorious militias operating in Rio: “Where the militias are, there is no violence,” was one of his many outrageous statements during the election campaign.
Even before the October elections, rumors were already circulating about the disturbing connections between the Bolsonaro clan and the organized criminal underworld in Rio de Janeiro. However, back then the press was too busy making sure that the PT candidate would lose, by any means necessary. Once that danger passed, Bolsonaro’s choice to align himself with the Record media group (tied to the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God) and not with the powerful Globo group, as well as his repeated and generalized attacks against the press, including mainstream outlets, have led to an about-face by the Brazilian press. Now, the media empire of the Marinho family, and also newspapers such as the Folha de São Paulo, are giving a lot of coverage to the scandals involving the Bolsonaro family.
At the moment, everyone’s attention is focused on Sérgio Moro, the current Minister for Justice and Public Safety. His complete silence on the corruption scandal that has engulfed the Bolsonaros has become truly deafening, and there is a serious risk that he will ultimately end up siding with organized crime. “Behind the façade of every tough law-and-order type lies an accomplice to criminals,” commented the sociologist Luis Felipe Miguel, not coincidentally.