By Rodrigo Viga Gaier
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – A Brazilian court will allow investigators to examine the banking records of President Jair Bolsonaro’s senator son and his former driver in a money-laundering investigation, two sources with knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Monday.
The office of Senator Flavio Bolsonaro confirmed that a court in a sealed ruling would allow police to examine the banking records of the lawmaker, along with those of his wife.
The court order opening Flavio Bolsonaro’s banking records increases the spotlight on multiple corruption allegations that are sullying the law-and-order image his father rode to an easy presidential election last year.
Federal investigators said in February they had opened the money-laundering investigation in connection to unexplained increases in Flavio Bolsonaro’s net worth, and his purchase of at least two luxury apartments in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil’s Supreme Court in February rejected his appeal to halt the probe that also includes an examination of numerous cash payments made to the account of his former driver.
The driver, Fabricio Queiroz, is a former policeman who investigators have said has strong links to Rio de Janeiro’s deadly paramilitary militias.
Flavio Bolsonaro and Queiroz have both said they are innocent of any crime.
The scandal arose after the Council for Financial Activities Control (COAF) identified 48 suspicious deposits worth a total of 100,000 reais ($27,000) deposited in a single month in 2017 into Flavio Bolsonaro’s bank account.
COAF also found 7 million reais in suspicious financial transactions in accounts belonging to Queiroz.
O Globo newspaper reported earlier this year it had viewed a federal police investigation into real estate deals Flavio Bolsonaro carried out between 2014 and 2017 that resulted in an “exceptional increase” in his net worth. The police document did not provide details on what apartment deals or amounts of money were involved.
That time period is roughly the same as when the 7 million reais in suspicious transactions flowed through the bank account of Queiroz.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Peter Cooney)