January 20, 2019 / 6:14 PM / 5 months ago

Brazil's VP says Bolsonaro son's transactions are unrelated to government

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The probe involving cash transfers into the account of President Jair Bolsonaro’s son is not related to the government, Vice President Hamilton Mourao said on Sunday in an interview with Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Flavio Bolsonaro, son of Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, gets into a car after a meeting with his father, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/File Photo

“Flavio Bolsonaro has nothing to do with our government,” Mourao said, referring to the former Rio de Janeiro lawmaker and senator-elect. Mourao became interim president on Sunday evening after Bolsonaro left for the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Mourao also said the investigations have not yet concluded.

Recent news reports showed the Council for Financial Activities Control, known as COAF, found 48 deposits made into the account of Flavio Bolsonaro, one of President Jair Bolsonaro’s sons. Flavio has also made a 1 million reais ($266,652) payment.

COAF has also found 7 million reais ($1.9 million) in financial transactions in accounts belonging to Flavio Bolsonaro’s former driver, Fabricio Queiroz, over three years, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported on Sunday.

In an interview with Record TV on Sunday evening, Flavio Bolsonaro said the 1 million reais payment was made in 2017 to state-controlled bank Caixa Economica Federal and is related to the purchase of a condo that he has since sold.

He said he made the cash deposits himself with money he received from a company he owns. Flavio Bolsonaro said he could not explain the transactions found by COAF in his former driver’s accounts.

The investigations are a new embarrassment for Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right nationalist who took office on Jan. 1 vowing to stamp out endemic graft and show zero tolerance to corruption within his government.

The supreme court agreed last week to a request from Flavio Bolsonaro’s lawyers to suspend a probe into suspicious payments to Queiroz.

Flavio’s lawyers argued that, as a senator-elect, he now enjoys certain legal protections, including that any case involving him should only be decided by the top court.

In the Record TV interview, he said data from his bank accounts was “illegally” leaked after being accessed without a court order, but he did not say who he held responsible.

($1 = 3.7502 reais)

Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Daniel Wallis

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