2022 Race

Supreme Court unseals documents on operation against pro-Bolsonaro businessmen

far-right operation business
Statue of Lady Justice in front of the Supreme Court building. Photo: Nelson Jr./SCO/STF

Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes on Monday made public his decision to authorize search and seizure operations targeting businessmen who support far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

The Federal Police carried out the operation on August 23, after news website Metrópoles leaked messages sent by these high-profile businessmen in a WhatsApp group. Texts exchanged in the group show that the businessmen defended a coup d’état led by President Jair Bolsonaro in the event of a Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva win in the October elections.

“The conduct reported in these records and identified by the Federal Police (…) [reveals] the potential for financing illegal digital activities and inciting the practice of undemocratic acts,” wrote Justice Moraes.

A group of judge associations requested that the Supreme Court investigate whether the businessmen are participating in “the preparation and financing of the acts of the next September 7.”

Last year, Independence Day demonstrations in Brazil were used by President Bolsonaro and his supporters to show their support for a coup. The president said at the time that he “would not comply” with any further decision by Justice Moraes, whom Mr. Bolsonaro considers to be an enemy.

The far-right president’s sustained attacks on Brazil’s electoral system and his calls to his supporters to turn out en masse at this year’s Independence Day have stoked fears that the next September 7 demos might morph into a military-backed uprising.

Domestic and international organizations, as well as multiple Brazilian institutions, are making moves to prevent episodes of political violence from disrupting the vote in Brazil, scheduled for October 2.

Last week, the House Human Rights Committee held a public hearing on the security of the 2022 election. Edson Borowski, a coordinator at justice system workers union Fenajufe, expects that “extreme political violence” is likely to happen.