Queiroz – a former Rio militarized police officer and longtime acquaintance of the president since the 1980s – was arrested early in the day in Atibaia, about sixty kilometers north of Sao Paulo. The house where the man was arrested is owned by Frederick Wassef, a lawyer representing Bolsonaro and his son, for whom Queiroz worked in the past, as chief of staff.
“He was sleeping when the agents arrived. It was delivered without problems. The only thing he said was that he was not feeling well, “local police chief Osvaldo Nico Goncalves told GloboNews. The images of the sensational arrest were widely re-launched by all the broadcasters, the TV stations that broadcast live the images of Queiroz in handcuffs, who got into a vehicle of a police convoy. Investigators then went to an apparently uninhabited building north of Rio, which they entered by knocking down the walls with a hammer, leaving an hour later with two envelopes loaded with material. According to some media reports, it is a house owned by President Bolsonaro.
Today’s double operation is part of a long and complex investigation to ascertain the position of his son, Senator Flavio, suspected of being the head of a criminal organization dedicated to money laundering during his term in the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro. (Alerj), which lasted 15 years. Organization in which Queiroz would have played a key role. The judiciary also ordered the arrest of his wife. After the announcement of the arrest of Queiroz – in custody in a Rio police commissioner – the Brazilian opposition has called for the withdrawal of immunity from Senator Flavio.
With today’s arrest and search, the tension between the Bolsonaro clan – which rejects the accusations – and the judiciary, all in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic: the virus is scourging Brazil, with a budget of over 46 thousand dead.
It is from 2018, the year in which Flavio Bolsonaro was elected to the Senate, that the Brazilian prosecutor has investigated atypical financial transactions reported by the Financial Activities Control Council (Coaf) on his bank account and 74 former collaborators in Rio. In particular, the equivalent of $ 240,000 arrived on that of Queiroz, while his monthly income did not exceed 4,000. When the scandal broke out it emerged that Queiroz was also linked to the head of state and that he had made bank transfers to the account of what is now the Primera Dama, Michelle Bolsonaro.
Last month, the testimony of businessman Paulo Marinho, a former supporter of Bolsonaro with whom he broke relations, was decisive, reporting that Flavio Bolsonaro had been illegally notified by the federal police that his adviser Queiroz was investigated and dismissed him before the scandal broke out. Flavio Bolsonaro said that he faces the arrest of his former collaborator with “peace of mind” and that in any case the whole operation is an attack on his father.
The arrest occurs in a very complex judicial context for President Bolsonaro, investigated by the Supreme Court for alleged pressure and political interference on the federal police. Just the charges against the son would have led the President of the Republic to try to interfere in the investigation, according to what was reported in April by the former Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro. The electoral court also opened an investigation against the far-right head of state regarding the spread of false news during the presidential campaign; if guilty, he risks up to the annulment of his triumph at the 2018 vote.