After a request from Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, the president’s eldest son, a Federal District appellate judge ordered news website UOL to take down a news story detailing how the Bolsonaro family purchased 51 of their 107 real estate assets in cash.
The decision applies to two separate stories, dated August 30 and September 9. The former reports that President Jair Bolsonaro’s family spent BRL 13.5 million in cash on real estate in the last 30 years. The second article issues proof of these cash payments, discovered by way of official registry office documents.
UOL announced that it would comply with the injunction, but would contest it in court. “The decision violates established precedents in the Brazilian legal system, intending to take important information about the assets of government figures out of the public debate, just before the election,” noted lawyer Mônica Filgueiras Galvão.
Paying for property in cash is not illegal, but it is heavily associated with money-laundering schemes, as it prevents law enforcement from tracing the funds’ origin.
Fabiano Angélico, a former Transparency Brazil consultant, wrote on Twitter about the case: “Buying one piece of real estate in cash is suspicious. [Buying] several properties in cash is very suspicious. But politically-exposed people buying several pieces of property in cash? Extremely suspicious.”