Brazil’s right-wing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who was voted in on an anti-corruption platform, said on Tuesday he would take action if a campaign funding investigation into his future chief of staff shows wrongdoing.
Brazil: Incoming Economic Minister, ‘Chicago Boy,’ Under Investigation for Fraud
Brazil’s Supreme Court on Monday authorized a federal investigation into allegations that Onyx Lorenzoni had taken illegal campaign donations.
“We are not worried. But if there is a solid accusation of irregularity … we will take steps,” Bolsonaro told reporters.
Lorenzoni said in a statement that he was not concerned about the case and the probe would be a chance to clear his name.
The investigation is the second accusation of graft made against a top member of the incoming government of Bolsonaro before he has even taken power. The former army captain, whose term begins in January, was elected on a law-and-order platform by voters disgusted with widespread political corruption.
Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge has asked the Supreme Court to allow an investigation into whether Lorenzoni, a longtime federal congressman, took illegal donations from the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS SA.
In plea bargain testimony last year, executives of JBS said they made US$52,290 of payments to Lorenzoni between 2012 and 2014, according to court documents seen by Reuters.
The testimony was part of a deal with prosecutors that saw J&F Investimentos SA, the holding company that controls JBS, pay a record 10.3 billion reais fine for bribing over 1,800 politicians at all levels in Brazil in recent years.
Last week, federal police opened an investigation into Paulo Guedes, the future economy minister, and whether he committed fraud tied to pension funds of state-run firms. Guedes’ lawyers said he had done nothing wrong.