Money-laundering case shelved in victory for Flávio Bolsonaro

Money-laundering Flávio Bolsonaro
Senator Flávio Bolsonaro. Photo: Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr

A corruption case against Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, the president’s eldest son, has been shelved on a technicality. The decision to dismiss the case, in which Senator Bolsonaro stood accused of having run a salary kickback scheme during his time as a state lawmaker in Rio de Janeiro, was unanimously backed by all judges in a panel of Rio de Janeiro’s top state court.

The state’s prosecutor general requested the charges be dropped following a ruling from the Superior Court of Justice last year, which annulled much of the evidence in the case. The court had accepted an appeal from Mr. Bolsonaro’s defense, arguing that the senator benefited from parliamentary immunity and that the judge presiding over the case, therefore, lacked jurisdiction.  

In November 2020, Flávio Bolsonaro was charged with having led a criminal organization to garnish part of the salary earned by his staffers — known in Brazil as a ‘rachid’ scheme. The investigation advanced slowly, hitting numerous obstacles.

Several of the appellate judges who voted to shelve the case today did so stressing that prosecutors could reopen it and collect evidence in the correct jurisdiction. Mr. Bolsonaro’s defense has indicated it will resist any attempts to reopen investigations. “The defense understands that the case has been closed,” said Luciana Pires, Mr. Bolsonaro’s lawyer.