Fabrício Queiroz, an obscure former cop who worked as a fixer for President Jair Bolsonaro’s family, was thrust into the public spotlight late in 2018. A report by Brazil’s money laundering enforcement agency raised suspicions that now-Senator Flávio Bolsonaro — who was then a state lawmaker — was running, with the help of Mr. Queiroz, a corruption scheme consisting of forcing staff members to surrender part of their paychecks. At the time, the scandal seemed more confined to the universe of Rio de Janeiro’s local politics, with one exception: ten checks amounting to BRL 24,000 (USD 4,400), made out to First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro.
The president said the money was payment for a loan he had given to Mr. Queiroz. “I lent him some money. He had a financial problem and debt that snowballed a bit,” said Jair Bolsonaro at the time. The payments, said the president, were made to his wife because he “has no time to go out.”
Now, we discover that the connections between the First Lady and the man who ran the scheme for the president’s son are much wider than initially thought.