A Brazilian senator allied to far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was caught hiding money in his underwear during a police investigation into the diversion of public funds for fighting the coronavirus, local media reported on Thursday.
Federal officers raided the home of Chico Rodrigues in the northern state of Roraima on Wednesday as part of a corruption probe.
They found 30,000 reales ($5,300) in cash, part of which was discovered in Rodrigues’s underwear, including “between his buttocks,” said major outlets including O Globo, Folha de S. Paulo and Estadao, quoting sources from the investigation.
The federal police confirmed to AFP they were trying to dismantle a “possible criminal scheme diverting public funds” set aside to combat the outbreak in Roraima state.
Rodrigues meanwhile issued a statement saying the police “did their job carrying out a search as part of an investigation in which I’m cited,” although he made no mention of the cash nor where it was allegedly found.
He complained that he’d had his “home invaded just for doing my job as a legislator” and insisted he had done nothing wrong.
Bolsonaro accused the media of using the story to portray his government as corrupt.
“This operation is a typical example that there’s no corruption in my government, that we’re tackling corruption no matter who it is,” he said.
Bolsonaro was elected in 2018 partly on the back of promise to fight corruption, but since he took office he’s faced several scandals.
They include an investigation into his son Flavio, who is accused of deviating public funds during his time as a Rio de Janeiro state legislator.
Bolsonaro is being investigated over accusations by his former justice minister, Sergio Moro, that the president tried to interfere with police probes to shield members of his family and friends.
© 2020 AFP