Brazilian police raid home of ex-president Bolsonaro’s son in spy probe

The former leader's son Carlos is accused of illegally collecting data through Brazil's intelligence agency

Carlos Bolsonaro, a son of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, was targeted by federal police raids on Monday in an investigation into suspected illegal spying on political foes during his father’s term, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Federal police, who are investigating accusations of illegal monitoring of citizens by the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin) during Bolsonaro’s 2019-22 administration, served search and seizure warrants against Carlos, according to the sources.

A police statement said eight warrants were being served in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and two other cities to identify “the main recipients and beneficiaries of information illegally produced by Abin through clandestine actions.”

The operation was the closest police probes have come to the far-right Bolsonaro, who has been declared ineligible for office until 2030 for abuse of power and misuse of the media when president.

Son Carlos, a city councillor in Rio, was essentially Bolsonaro’s propaganda minister and ran an office inside the presidential palace suspected of putting out fake news against his father’s political adversaries and authorities that opposed his actions. Carlos has denied running a fake news operation.

Now he is being investigated for allegedly using data collected by the Abin agency through an Israeli software called First Mile used to track the location of private cellphones, a federal police source told Reuters.

Asked if information received by Carlos from the spy agency was used to feed fake news against government opponents, the senior police officer said: “Possibly. Let’s delve deeper into this now.”

Carlos is already a target of an investigation opened by the Supreme Court for allegedly leading a fake news operation from the presidential office dubbed the “cabinet of hatred.”

Last week, federal police launched raids targeting former Abin head and congressman Alexandre Ramagem, a Bolsonaro loyalist planning to run for mayor of Rio de Janeiro, as part of the probe.

Ramagem is suspected of using the spyware to track political opponents. He has denied wrongdoing.

Supreme Court documents unsealed on Thursday showed that the spy agency is accused of illegal surveillance on at least three Supreme Court justices and a former Lower House speaker during Bolsonaro’s presidency.



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