Feds clear Bolsonaro of crime in shady vaccine deal

vaccine deal bolsonaro
Photo: Alan Santos/PR

In a report made public today, the Federal Police concluded that President Jair Bolsonaro did not commit a crime by not reporting corruption allegations regarding a USD 300 million deal to purchase the Indian-made Covaxin vaccine.

The Covaxin vaccine scandal consumed Brazilian politics in mid-2021. Congressman Luis Miranda told the Senate’s Covid inquiry that his brother — a senior official within the Health Ministry — was coerced into greenlighting a deal for 20 million Covaxin shots, despite glaring evidence that the deal was irregular by procurement laws. 

He added that he had told President Bolsonaro about the deal’s inconsistencies, who allegedly dismissed the irregularities as “monkey business” by his House whip, Congressman Ricardo Barros. 

The opposition wanted Mr. Bolsonaro to be charged with malfeasance, for failing to act upon having witnessed a crime against the public administration. “Legally, it is not a president’s duty to communicate irregularities to authorities,” wrote the case’s legal investigator.