AP NEWS

Head of Bolsonaro’s party target of police search order

October 16, 2019

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Federal police carried out a search order Tuesday at an address linked to Luciano Bivar, the head of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s political party, amid accusations of electoral fraud during the campaign.

Police have been looking into allegations that Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party gave money to so-called “front” candidates during the 2018 election campaign.

The warrant, issued by a regional electoral court Monday, looks at the alleged use of women as phony candidates, federal police said.

The party must spend at least 30% of campaign funding on female candidates, but there are signs that some money was re-directed to other party managers, according to police.

Funding candidates with no chance of winning has historically been a way to get around campaign finance laws in Brazil or to get kickbacks.

Bivar’s law firm said in a statement they believed the warrant was unnecessary as the investigation began 10 months ago with “no indication of fraud.”

The government and the Social Liberal Party declined to comment.

The investigation has cast a shadow over Bolsonaro’s pledge to tackle endemic corruption in the country.

Earlier this month, federal police and prosecutors filed charges against Tourism Minister Marcelo Alvaro Antonio, who led the party in the state of Minas Gerais during the general elections. Police said several women on the far-right party’s slate received small amounts and then had to return that to party coffers.

The minister has denied any wrongdoing. A judge has yet to decide whether the case should go to trial.