The scandal of the illegal sale of jewelry could lead Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to prison. But the former president is not only responsible for this case. The process runs within the investigation of digital militias at the Federal Supreme Court (STF), which also has four other lines of investigation: anti-democratic acts, attacks on the electoral process, the spread of misinformation during the pandemic and the attempted coup d’état. . There is also an inquiry into the retired captain’s alleged involvement in a fraud scheme in his vaccination records against covid-19, used on trips abroad.
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The Federal Police (PF) confirmed that the former president was aware of attempts by his allies to sell the jewels presented to Brazil by foreign delegations. The messages found on the seized cell phone of Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, Bolsonaro’s former assistant, confirm that the former representative was aware of the negotiations.
On the 17th, Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), authorized the breach of banking and tax secrecy of Jair Bolsonaro and his wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, with the aim of identifying whether the money acquired from the sale of jewelry from the Presidency was transferred to the ex-president.
Moraes’ decision took place on the same day that Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid’s lawyer, Cezar Bittencourt, reported that his client would admit that he sold the jewels of the Presidency of the Republic at the behest of Bolsonaro and that he would have delivered the money obtained in cash. The value may have exceeded R$ 1 million.
According to the corporation, an offensive was mounted to circumvent the registration of those present by the sector of the Planalto Palace responsible for cataloging the objects. Bolsonaro’s former aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, would be part of the scheme; his father, retired general Mauro César Lourena; Army second lieutenant Osmar Crivelatti, Mauro Cid’s right-hand man; and former Bolsonaro family lawyer Frederick Wassef.
They were the target of a PF operation – named Luke 12:2, in reference to the Bible verse that says “there is nothing hidden that will not be discovered, or hidden that will not be known” –, which began on 11 August, with search warrants authorized by Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the STF. For the magistrate, there are indications that the scheme was carried out by Bolsonaro’s determination.
:: What is known so far about the sale in the US of jewelry given to Bolsonaro? ::
In a note, the PF stated that “there are strong indications that the investigated used the structure of the Brazilian State to divert goods of high patrimonial value delivered by foreign authorities to the President of the Republic (…) with the intention of generating illicit enrichment of former president Jair Bolsonaro”.
The amounts obtained from the sales would have been “converted into cash and entered the personal assets of the investigated, through intermediary persons and without using the formal banking system, with the aim of hiding the origin, location and ownership of the values”.
The Federal Police is also sharing all details of the investigation with the FBI, the United States federal police agency. This could make Jair Bolsonaro, Mauro Cid and Mauro César Lourena subject to investigations in the North American country for possible financial offenses, such as money laundering and the use of bank accounts to hide illicit values. In addition, the FBI must conduct investigations of the companies, stores and individuals who purchased the jewelry to determine whether they were aware of the illegal origin of these pieces.
Digital militia survey
The search operation carried out on August 11 was a result of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) inquiry into the activities of digital militias, reported to the Federal Supreme Court by Minister Alexandre de Moraes. The inquiry began with the investigation of the anti-democratic acts of 2020. According to the PF, the organization responsible for those acts was responsible for the entire coup escalation until reaching the attacks on the electoral system in 2022.
In total, the inquiry has five lines of investigation that are related to each other: anti-democratic acts, attacks on the electoral process, the spread of disinformation during the pandemic, the attempted coup d’état and the use of the State to obtain personal advantages, like selling gifts. All these events would have been mobilized by the same group of allies and colleagues of Jair Bolsonaro, which justifies Operation Lucas 12:2 having started from the inquiry of the digital militias.
:: Alexandre de Moraes unifies investigations into digital militia and attacks on electronic voting machines ::
In the case of suspected use of the state apparatus to obtain advantages, so far there has not been enough evidence to directly implicate Jair Bolsonaro in the investigations. This is due to the fact that the investigation of suspicious transactions carried out by members of the team led by Mauro Cid was still ongoing.
The new findings by the PF, however, may directly implicate Bolsonaro in the illegal sale of jewelry and other objects of value presented to the Brazilian State, since there are messages that show that the former president would have received the money from the sale of the items.
cabinet of hate
Also within the scope of the digital militia inquiry, the Federal Police sent a report to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) in which it points to the existence of a digital militia responsible for a “hate office” that acted against the country’s democratic institutions and opponents. .
“It is also observed that, in addition to promoting attacks on the traditional vehicles for disseminating information (newspapers, radio, TV, etc.) and stimulating polarization and aggravating the debate, the organization uses this structure to anonymously attack several people (political antagonists, STF ministers, members of the government itself, dissidents, etc.), all with the aim of paving the way for achieving the objectives outlined (ideological, party-political and financial gains)”, wrote PF delegate Denisse Ribeiro , who signs the document.
Ribeiro also summarized how the group works in four processes. The first is election: when the group chooses who the targets are. Then the preparation, that is, the elaboration of the contents to be published. Third, the attack itself with the publication of aggression and false news. Finally, the cabinet does the reverberation, which is the intersection of posts and retransmissions.
:: PF confirms the existence of the “hate office” in a report sent to the STF; read the document ::
The delegate also informs that the group acted in the dissemination of false information about the covid-19 pandemic. “As an example, among others, one can mention the issue of early treatment against covid-19 using hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine and azithromycin.”
Despite pointing to the existence of the hate cabinet, the delegate explained that the investigation must continue. “There are, likewise, gaps that need to be filled, indicating the need to carry out new steps aimed at individualizing the facts practiced, with an indication of authors and participants”, completed the delegate.
Attacks on the electoral process
The former president has already been sentenced by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) to eight years of ineligibility for abuse of political power and misuse of the media by attacking the electoral process during a meeting with ambassadors shortly before the 2022 elections. The spread of disinformation about electronic voting machines, however, is also the subject of investigation by the STF in the investigation of digital militias.
Minister Alexandre de Moraes determined, in May last year, that investigations related to Bolsonaro’s attacks on electronic voting machines and the alleged action of a digital militia against democracy be conducted jointly.
:: TSE forms majority to make Bolsonaro ineligible for eight years ::
The decision was taken in response to a request from the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), which argued that unifying the two investigations is essential before making a decision on whether to denounce the retired captain. The inquiry into Bolsonaro’s attacks on the electoral system began in 2021, after the then president disseminated false information about the ballot boxes during a live broadcast on social media.
“The Federal Police carried out several steps and concluded that the elements of interest obtained during the investigation corroborate the essence of the way of acting of this group of people, in convergence with the way of acting already presented to the Superior Electoral Court on the occasion of the administrative inquiry also instituted as a result of the promotion of the live”, wrote Moraes at the time.
Vaccination card fraud
According to the Federal Police (PF), there are indications that Bolsonaro knew about the fraud scheme in his vaccination records against covid-19, since his and his youngest daughter’s vaccination cards contain false immunization records. Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, former aide-de-camp and former president’s right-hand man, would have been the coordinator of the scheme. Cid has been in jail since May 3.
“Jair Bolsonaro, Mauro Cesar Cid and possibly (advisor) Marcelo Costa Câmara were fully aware of the fraudulent insertion of vaccination data, remaining inert in relation to such facts until the present moment”, says an excerpt from a representation of the FEDERAL POLICE.
The current advisor to the former president, Max Guilherme Machado de Moura, confirmed in a statement to the Federal Police that he issued a certificate of immunization against covid-19 in his name, even without having been vaccinated.
“Like the investigated facts related to Jair Bolsonaro and his daughter Laura, the information elements collected demonstrated logical and temporal coherence from the insertion of false data in the SI-PNI system (Information System of the National Immunization Program) to the generation of vaccination certificates against covid-19”, said the PF about Moura.
Editing: Felipe Mendes