Son of Brazil’s Bolsonaro rejects money laundering claims

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Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.

The eldest son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has denied accusations he laundered money through real estate deals, months after the eruption of a suspicious payments scandal involving him that tarnished his father’s anti-corruption credentials.

Flavio Bolsonaro, a federal senator, allegedly made more than three million reais ($790,000) buying and selling 19 apartments and commercial locations in Rio de Janeiro — a profit that could indicate money laundering, Veja magazine reported Wednesday citing documents from the Rio state prosecutor’s office.

In one of the transactions — all of which took place between 2010 and 2017 –, the sale price of a Copacabana apartment was 292 per cent more than what Flavio paid for it 15 months earlier.

Flavio, 38, hit back on Twitter late Wednesday, saying the reported values were “absolutely false and not even close to the real values.”

“I have always declared my assets to the tax authorities and everything is compatible with my earnings,” he said, describing himself as a victim of “illegal leaks.”

“My past is clean and I have never committed any irregularity in my entire life.”

The prosecutor’s office included the allegations in a document requesting judicial permission to access the bank and tax records of more than 90 people, including Flavio, as part of an investigation into suspicious payments.

The request was made last month and has been granted, O Globo reported earlier this week.

Flavio has been under scrutiny because of 48 deposits made to his bank account in 2017 for a total $30,000, as well as persistent questions over $300,000 in transactions detected in the account of a former close aide.

While he has denied any wrongdoing, the allegations have eroded his father’s corruption-busting image that helped get him elected in last year’s presidential elections.

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