Brazil police probe Bolsonaro son over illegal spying

Police in Brazil raided the home and offices of former president Jair Bolsonaro’s son Carlos Monday over accusations of involvement in illegal spying during his father’s presidency.

Federal police said they had carried out nine search and seizure warrants in the latest phase of an ongoing investigation into a “criminal organization set up in the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin) to illegally monitor public officials and others.”

A police source told AFP that Carlos, a Rio de Janeiro city councilor and the second of Bolsonaro’s four sons, was among the targets.

The investigation, which involves accusations Abin illegally tracked the geolocation data of hundreds of Bolsonaro’s perceived opponents during his presidency (2019-2022), has closed in on the far-right ex-president’s inner circle.

Last Thursday, police also raided the home and offices of Bolsonaro’s former intelligence chief, ex-Abin director Alexandre Ramagem, who is now a federal lawmaker for the former president’s Liberal Party.

Police said they were now moving on the alleged domestic spying ring’s “political core,” identifying “the main recipients and beneficiaries of the information produced illegally within Abin via clandestine operations.”

Carlos Bolsonaro’s home and his offices at Rio city hall were searched in the raids, Brazilian media reports said.

Police said they had also targeted addresses in the capital, Brasilia, and the resort town of Angra dos Reis, 150 kilometers (95 miles) west of Rio.

Globo News TV showed the former president, 68, and Carlos Bolsonaro, 41, outside a house in Angra dos Reis as federal officers departed.

Investigators allege Abin used Israeli-made surveillance software known as FirstMile, which tracks cell phone geolocation data, to spy on figures including supreme court justices, the former lower-house speaker and others.

The leader of Bolsonaro’s party, Valdemar Costa Neto has called the investigation “persecution.”

Bolsonaro has faced mounting legal trouble since losing a divisive election to veteran leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2022.

Two of Bolsonaro’s other sons have also been mentioned in court documents on the illegal espionage case.

Investigators allege the spying aimed to help Bolsonaro’s son Flavio, a senator, fight off a corruption investigation, and help another son, Jair Renan, in an influence-peddling probe.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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