Brazil, the specter of Marielle Franco’s murder behind the judicial troubles of the Bolsonaro family


The arrest of Fabrício Queiroz Rio de Janiero is a bad blow for Jair Bolsonaro. Because it is a new piece of the complex puzzle that aims to reconstruct the assassination of Marielle Franco, the MP of the Legislative Assembly and social activist, reached by dozens of submachine gun shots with his driver Anderson Gomes on the evening of March 14, 2018 in the center of the Carioca capital. Former Military Police officer, Queiroz worked extensively with the president’s eldest son, Flávio Bolsonaro when he was a member of the Rio State Parliament, like Marielle, between 2007 and 2018. He was his right arm and led the the office that coordinated the political activity of what would have been elected senator to Congress with the highest number of votes in the history of the Brazilian Republic.

Queiroz’s name appears in one of the four investigations launched by the judiciary against the President’s three oldest children. A story related to the distraction of public funds, a practice known as rachadinha widespread in the parliamentary world: one appropriates half of the salary of his collaborators making it appear as a whole. It was also a habit in Flávio’s office and this did not escape the Coaf, the state body responsible for the Control of Financial Activities. At the end of 2018, the Queiroz office showed strange movements in its accounts: 1.2 million reais, about 225 thousand dollars transited over the course of a year, a figure that the authorities considered incompatible with his salary and his activity. It digs deeper and it turns out that they have been invested in a series of shops, headed to names of convenience but attributable to the newly elected senator.

This is also a sensation because the whole campaign of Jair Bolsonaro and his children, all elected between the Federal Parliament and the State of Rio, had been focused on the fight against corruption. One of the suspicious payments was a wire transfer to the first lady, Michelle, and amounted to 24,000 reais, $ 4,500. Jair Bolsonaro hastened to specify that it was a loan given to his wife which he had then repaid.

The excuse holds up to the checks but it was clear that public money had been used for personal purposes and that most of it had ended up in other streams that were lost in investments that remained in the shadows. The reactions of the Bolsonaro clan are decisive and direct. Everyone talks about pretext attacks and maneuvers that aim to hit the president-elect by popular acclaim. The investigations continue amidst many contrasts. Several times thwarted but then resumed at the request of the judiciary which claims its decision-making autonomy considered an interference by Bolsonaro.The resignation of the former judge Sergio Moro as Minister of Justice, they are born precisely from this contrast. The president wanted to be informed in real time on the development of the investigation. The money track opens boxes that hide others and reaches that of a former highly decorated police captain who has become a hardened criminal. He was called Adriano Magalhãnes da Nóbrega, 43 years old, who ended up in prison in 2006, was released again and then interrogated, in 2018, about the assassination of Marielle Franco. The man was known to be part of the Crime Office, a real Rio agency to which commissioned murders are contracted.

Magalhãnes denies any involvement but given the heavy air it takes off and disappears. It will be traced back in February thanks to a tip that indicates where it is hiding: a house of a friend of Flavio Bolsonaro, at that time uninhabited. Surrounded by the police, he does not have time to surrender and is mowed down by a barrage of bullets. Many thought about the elimination of a witness who knew too many things. His body was not even subjected to an autopsy. Your cell phones disappeared like other compromising documents. Total cleaning.

There remained those traces of the money that Queiroz diverted towards other investments and that the police believed ended up in the hands of the ex-policeman who had become one of the most dangerous criminals in the city. It turns out that Adriano Magalhãnes led a paramilitary militia, among the many active in the suburbs, who had invested his large collections made of bribes, laces and extortion, in the building industry. In particular, creating real estate speculations in Pedras Negras, a favela that arose behind Barra da Tijuca, a wealthy district west of Rio where Jair Bolsonaro’s house stands. One of these completely new buildings had collapsed two years ago, burying 24 people under the rubble. Magalhãnes was a friend of Flávio who had rewarded him, after exiting the police, with a rare public commendation that the senator claimed even after his assassination.

He did not know, at that time, that the criminal had been linked to two other ex-soldiers, of the Police and the Army, arrested because they were believed to be the killer of Marielle Franco and the driver of the command. All three were part of the “Crime Office”. One lived in the same area as the Bolsonaro family. Last April The Intercept Brasil, the investigative site of the Pulitzer Prize Glenn Greenwald, showed documents in hand what the Federal Police could not prove: Flávio Bolsonaro paid his employees (two were the mother and wife of Marielle’s hit man in prison) with the funds of his office in the Parliament of Rio, 40 for one hundred was stolen by Fabrício Queiroz who passed part of it to Adriano Magalhãnes da Nóbrega. If the former right-hand man and then the president’s eldest son’s driver decides to respond to the money laundering charges, the black thread leading to Mirelle’s murder could unite principals and perpetrators.

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