Senator Chico Rodrigues, who represents the state of Roraima in the Federal Senate, confirmed that the raid took place at his home in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima. He has denied any wrongdoing.
According to a Supreme Court order citing the police investigation, the police video allegedly showed Rodrigues with about 15,000 reais (about $ 2,700) stuffed in shorts during their search of his home. More money was found by authorities when the senator allegedly “put his hand in his underwear and took other bundles of money amounting to 17,900 reais” the order says, for a total reserve worth more than $ 5,800.
The judge did not authorize the publication of the videos.
The court order, issued Thursday, suspends Rodrigues for 90 days to ensure compliance with the ongoing investigation.
CNN Brasil has arrived at Rodrigues’s office for comment.
However, in a press release, Rodrigues suggested the search was an attempt to tarnish his reputation. “I had my house occupied because I simply did my job as a parliamentarian, bringing resources to fight Covid-19 for the state health department,” he wrote.
“I will prove that I did not and that I had nothing to do with any wrongdoing,” he wrote.
Brazilian Federal Supreme Court Minister Luis Roberto Barroso wrote that the investigation was needed to determine whether Rodrigues was “using his parliamentary function to divert money destined to face the biggest pandemic of the last 100 years” “.
According to the court order, “there are signs of the senator’s participation in the criminal organization aimed at deviating from the values intended for measures related to Covid-19 in the state of Roraima”. Federal Police investigators also said that “the money found on the senator’s body during the raid did not prove its legal origin, most likely resulting from the crime of embezzlement profits practiced because of the precious contracts investigated.” .
Federal lawmakers in Brazil are protected from prosecution in most cases by parliamentary immunity.
The raid was part of a series conducted by police in their investigation into possible misuse of public resources intended to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated Brazil. More than 152,000 people have died and more than 5.1 million have been infected, making it the country with the third highest number of cases in the world.
Rodriguez was elected as deputy prime minister by President Bolsonaro, who campaigned for offices on an anti-corruption platform.
“I tell those who know me: stay calm. I believe in justice and I will prove that I have not and that I had nothing to do with any violation,” Rodrigues wrote in his statement.
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