Authorities in Brazil have conducted a search at the luxurious seaside residence belonging to a prominent son of Jair Bolsonaro, a highly influential politician. This action is part of a growing probe into an alleged illegal surveillance scheme that is believed to have occurred during his time as president, known for his far-right beliefs.
On Monday morning, it was observed that a minimum of three federal police cars drove into the Vivenda da Barra condominium located in western Rio, where 41-year-old Carlos Bolsonaro resides.
Around the same time, it was reported that police conducted a search at a vacation villa on the Rio coast where Jair Bolsonaro and three of his sons, including Carlos, were staying. The four men left the property in Angra dos Reis by boat after the police arrived. According to GloboNews, a federal police source stated that they found a computer that belonged to Brazil’s intelligence agency, Abin, in Carlos’s possession, even though he had never been employed by the agency.
According to GloboNews, the raids were authorized due to the police’s suspicion that Carlos, a trusted advisor of his father, had unlawfully obtained intelligence information from his father’s former intelligence chief, Alexandre Ramagem.
Police searched the home and offices of Ramagem, who served as the head of Abin under Bolsonaro’s administration from 2019 to 2022, on Thursday. They were investigating allegations of unauthorized spying. One of the accusations against Ramagem is that he was a part of a “criminal organization” that used Israeli spy technology to monitor Bolsonaro’s political opponents while he was in charge of Abin. There are also suspicions that members of a separate intelligence agency produced information to benefit the Bolsonaro family. Ramagem has denied any wrongdoing and believes these allegations are an effort to damage his political career and the Bolsonarista right.
Bolsonaro, who has not yet addressed Monday’s raid on his son’s residence, referred to last week’s operation against Ramagem as “unrelenting persecution”.
Carlos, a council member in Rio and expert in social media, is a prominent and aggressive figure in the Bolsonarismo community. He is known for his fierce and sometimes mysterious criticisms of those who oppose his father’s political agenda.
In a public statement of their proximity, Carlos travelled to his father’s 2019 inauguration in the presidential Rolls-Royce, alongside Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro calls Carlos “my Pitbull”.
On Monday morning, it was reported that Carlos’s offices in city hall were raided by the police, who confiscated documents and computers. Search warrants were also carried out in Salvador, the capital, Brasília, and a neighboring city named Formosa. As of now, Carlos has not made a statement regarding the operation.
The federal police released a statement stating that their investigation is looking into a “criminal organization” that infiltrated the Brazilian intelligence agency (Abin) in order to illegally monitor public officials and civilians. The recent raids conducted on Monday were focused on the alleged “political core” of this organization, with the goal of identifying those who received and benefited from illegally obtained information within Abin. The statement mentioned potential charges for those under investigation, including hacking into electronic devices, intercepting communications without legal authorization, and involvement in a criminal group.