Brazil's former president Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of falsifying Covid vaccine data

Adriano Machado/Reuters

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in front of his home before testifying to federal police on February 22, 2024 in Brasilia, Brazil.



CNN

Brazil's former president Jair Bolsonaro has been indicted by the country's federal police on suspicion of fraud over allegations he falsified Covid-19 vaccine data while he was president, CNN Brazil reported Tuesday.

Police say the far-right leader ordered a close aide to enter false vaccination data into the Health Ministry's system, according to CNN Brazil.

Police told CNN Brazil that “evidence collected” for the investigation showed that Bolsonaro acted willingly when he ordered the inclusion of false information in the country's health system.

Bolsonaro's close aide Lieutenant-Colonel Mauro Cid and 15 others were accused of participating in the same scheme.

Bolsonaro's lawyer, Fabio Wajngarten, called the indictment “ridiculous.”

“(Bolsonaro's) personal opinion on vaccines is known to the whole world,” he wrote in X. “While serving as president, he was absolutely exempted from issuing any kind of certificate on his travels.”

Last May, Brazilian police raided and seized Bolsonaro's home in Brasilia in connection with falsified vaccine data.

At the time, Bolsonaro told reporters that he had not been vaccinated against Covid-19 and that his vaccination card had not been tampered with.

Brazil's prosecutor's office must now decide whether to move forward with an indictment.

Although Brazil has battled a severe coronavirus outbreak, Bolsonaro has been widely criticized at home and abroad for downplaying the severity of the virus during the pandemic.

In 2021, he publicly defied the UN's requirement that foreign delegates be vaccinated before entering its headquarters in New York. Many Members of his delegation Later tested positive for the virus.

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The indictment comes as Bolsonaro faces mounting legal challenges, including an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to keep him in power after he lost the 2022 presidential election. Several former ministers who served in Bolsonaro's government have also been investigated and some of his aides have been arrested.

Bolsonaro's supporters storm government buildings in Brasilia, January 8, 2023, after he narrowly lost elections to leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro has refused. trigger The Violent attacks In the capital.

Last year, Bolsonaro was barred from running for political office until 2030 by the country's highest electoral court. Abuses his power and misuse of public media during the 2022 election campaign.

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