2022 Race

Center-left presidential hopeful targeted by police operation

Ciro Gomes. Photo: BW Press/Shutterstock
Ciro Gomes. Photo: BW Press/Shutterstock

Former Congressman Ciro Gomes’s flimsy presidential hopes have grown slimmer today after he and his brother, Senator Cid Gomes, were targeted by a federal anti-corruption probe. They face allegations of embezzling public funds during the renovation of a World Cup football stadium in the state of Ceará — where the brothers built their political careers.

The alleged crimes of rigging public procurement processes in exchange for bribes were perpetrated between 2010 and 2013, when Cid Gomes served as Ceará state governor. 

On Wednesday, Ciro Gomes followed the script of politicians facing accusations and called foul play, saying the operation was orchestrated by President Jair Bolsonaro to remove him from political contention. “In 40 years as a politician, I have never faced corruption allegations.” The Federal Police, however, said the presidential hopeful and his family formed a “criminal organization.”

Polling in the single digits, the former cabinet minister hoped to present himself as an alternative to the polarization between President Jair Bolsonaro and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. At this moment, however, former Justice Minister Sergio Moro appears to be the only challenger with even an outside chance of bothering the two frontrunners.