Senator Chico Rodriguez, who represents the state of Roraima in the Federal Senate, confirmed that the raid took place at his home in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima. He denied having committed any wrongdoing.
According to a Supreme Court order citing the police investigation, the police video allegedly shows Rodriguez with about 15,000 reais (about $ 2,700) stuffed into his briefs during a search of his home. More money was found by the authorities when the senator claimed that he “put his hand in his underwear and took other bundles of money worth a total of 17,900 reais”, according to the total cash order worth more than $ 5,800.
The judge did not allow the videos to be released.
A court order issued Thursday suspended Rodriguez for 90 days to ensure compliance with the ongoing investigation.
CNN Brasil contacted Rodriguez̵
However, in a statement to the press, Rodriguez suggested that the search was an attempt to tarnish his reputation. “We attacked my home because I was just doing my job as a parliamentarian, bringing Covid-19 resources to the state health department,” he wrote.
“I will prove that I have nothing and that I had nothing to do with any illegal actions,” he wrote.
Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court Minister Luis Roberto Barroso has written that an investigation is needed to determine whether Rodriguez “is using his parliamentary function to divert money destined to face the biggest pandemic in 100 years.”
According to the court order, “there are indications that the senator is involved in a criminal organization aimed at diverting valuables intended for measures related to Covid-19 in the state of Roraima.” Federal police investigators also said that “the money found in the senator’s body during the attack did not prove its legal origin, as it is very likely to be the result of the crime of embezzlement, practiced due to investigated contracts with overpriced prices “.
Federal legislators in Brazil are protected from prosecution in most cases through parliamentary immunity.
The raid is part of a series conducted by police in their investigation into the possible misuse of public resources designed to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged Brazil. More than 152,000 people have died and more than 5.1 million have been infected, making it the third largest country in the world.
Rodriguez was elected deputy prime minister by President Bolsonaro, who campaigned for an anti-corruption platform.
“I tell those who know me: keep calm. I trust in justice and I will prove that I have nothing and that I had nothing to do with any wrongdoing,” Rodriguez wrote in a statement.