Carlos Bolsonaro: Brazil ex-leader’s son caught up in spying probe

Carlos Bolsonaro: Brazil ex-leader's son caught up in spying probe
Federal Police vehicles drive on their way to the Federal Police headquarters after a raid on the house of councilman Carlos Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 29, 2024.Getty Images

Police in Brazil have raided a number of properties linked to Carlos Bolsonaro, one of the sons of former President Jair Bolsonaro.

The search is part of an investigation into allegations that political enemies of President Bolsonaro were spied on illegally by the Brazilian intelligence service during his time in office.

Carlos Bolsonaro often attacked his father’s critics on social media.

He has in the past been accused of spreading fake news, which he denies.

Neither Carlos Bolsonaro nor his father have so far commented on this latest raid.

Carlos Bolsonaro is seen behind his father Jair Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 29, 2022.


The scandal first broke on Thursday when Brazil’s Supreme Court unsealed documents in which the country’s intelligence agency Abin was accused of carrying out surveillance on key political and judicial figures critical of the former president.

Among the alleged targets of the illegal eavesdropping were three Supreme Court justices and a speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress.

Police searched the home and offices of Alexandre Ramagem – the former head of Abin and a close ally of Jair Bolsonaro – on Thursday.

But the investigation moved much closer to the former president on Monday when officers arrived at a beach house where Jair Bolsonaro was staying with his sons.

The former leader was reportedly on a fishing trip with his sons when police arrived at the property in Angra dos Reis.

This latest probe adds to the legal problems of Jair Bolsonaro, who has been banned from running for office for eight years after casting unfounded doubts on Brazil’s electronic voting system.

Now police are investigating whether Abin may have been illegally used during Mr Bolsonaro’s presidency to collect information on people who were perceived to be critical of the president.

During his father’s presidency, Carlos Bolsonaro often acted as an unofficial spokesman for the elder Bolsonaro, attacking foes of the president on social media.

A police source told Reuters news agency they suspected that Carlos Bolsonaro had illegally used information gathered by Abin.

Police said last week that their investigations indicated that a “criminal group” had created “a parallel structure within the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin) and used its tools and services for illicit acts, producing information for political and media purposes, for personal gain and to interfere in federal police investigations”.

Under Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency Brazil became increasingly polarised with followers and opponents of the president accusing each other of dirty tactics.

Since he narrowly lost to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the 2022 election, the former president has come under investigation for a number of alleged wrongdoings, including corruption and abuse of power.

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By David Ryckman