Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro stands up to corruption charges

By Shannon Samayoa, CNN • Updated 16th January 2020 He is already setting off some alarm bells, and now the former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has suggested if new President…

Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro stands up to corruption charges

By Shannon Samayoa, CNN • Updated 16th January 2020

He is already setting off some alarm bells, and now the former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has suggested if new President Jair Bolsonaro is so confident about being able to solve Brazil’s economic crisis he should sack him as finance minister.

Dissatisfied with the suggestion, Bolsonaro said he was looking forward to drafting his cabinet after this Sunday’s Presidential election.

Bolsonaro was elected to office on a platform that included anti-corruption measures. However, his policy proposals have attracted criticism from sectors of society, including the left, for being too aggressive and lacking in details.

Criminal charges

Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old congressman who was catapulted to the top of the polls in October with his promise to combat graft and make Brazil safer, is being investigated for a string of possible crimes, including corruption, allegedly embezzlement and being part of a drug trafficking gang. He has also been charged with inciting racial hatred, writing to a neo-Nazi group on Facebook.

“I’m the only president, and in history, no-one has a right to just spend eight years knowing they’ll pay a heavy price one day,” says Bolsonaro.

Over the weekend, the Brazilian Senate accused Bolsonaro of obstructing his own investigation, as the Investigation Committee attempted to subpoena him as the main suspect in a 2015 murder. Bolsonaro was shown on the video refusing to appear and tried to use his immunity to cover up the incriminating evidence. The senate rejected the request.

Meanwhile, a commission chaired by Lula da Silva, Brazil’s leftist former president and a convicted corruption defendant, has voted to formally recommend Bolsonaro be charged with criminal corruption. On Friday, the commission called on the Supreme Court to advance the anti-corruption charges against Bolsonaro, accused of helping his brother receive a 25 million real (about $8.4 million) state housing contract. The commission further voted to recommend others be charged for allegedly embezzling state funds.

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