Carlos Bolsonaro (son) is suspected of spying on opponents of the former president

Carlos Bolsonaro (son) is suspected of spying on opponents of the former president

Carlos Bolsonaro whispers into the ear of his father, then-President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, in September 2022.Photo by Bruno Prado/AP

Although more than a year has passed since the resignation of controversial former President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil remains preoccupied almost every day with his legacy: above all, the legal and political consequences of the storming of Parliament in January 2023, but certainly also the long list of judicial investigations against the president. The former and his children.

This Monday, the Bolsonaro family once again dominated the Brazilian media. The main character this time is Carlos Bolsonaro (43 years old), Bolsonaro's second son and Rio de Janeiro city councilor. Carlos is known as an aggressive PR man for his far-right father. Just like Bolsonaro Sr., investigations against Carlos have been ongoing for some time. He is suspected, among other things, of leading a disinformation campaign from the presidential palace.

Finished by the author
Joost de Vries is the Latin America correspondent for De Volkskrant. Lives in Mexico City. De Vries previously worked on the Economic and Political editorial team.

There are now more serious suspicions against Carlos Bolsonaro, namely spying on his father's political opponents. The Federal Police suspect that under the Bolsonaro government (2019 to the end of 2022), the Brazilian intelligence service Abin secretly monitored citizens. The service will use Israeli spyware First Mile, which can track cell phone locations.

Something parallel

The Brazilian media is talking about the “Abin Paralela” case: a parallel intelligence service within the Abin apparatus that collected information for the Bolsonaro family about administrators, judges and politicians that the president considers enemies. Supreme Court documents show that the Brazilian intelligence service, among others, spied on three judges of that Supreme Court.

On Monday morning, police raided Carlos Bolsonaro's home in Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile, a family villa on the beach in the coastal town of Angra dos Reis was searched. Bolsonaro and three of his sons, including Carlos, remained at home these days, but had just gone fishing in the bay during the raid. During the search, police allegedly found Abin's computer, but this report was refuted by a family spokesman.

Last week, the home of former intelligence chief Alexander Ramajim was also searched. The political ally of former President Bolsonaro denies all accusations, and states that the judiciary is running a political campaign against Bolsonaro and his associates.

The far-right former president was narrowly defeated in October 2022 by Lula da Silva, a left-wing politician who previously ruled between 2003 and 2010. In June last year, Jair Bolsonaro was banned from politics until 2030 by the electoral tribunal. According to the court, he was guilty of abuse of power by repeatedly describing Brazilian voting computers as vulnerable to fraud. The far-right politician was only able to return at the age of 75.

Nowadays, he has other concerns on his mind: other ongoing judicial investigations – including spreading misinformation and inciting his supporters to storm Parliament on January 8 last year – could result in a prison sentence.

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