Brazilian senator was reportedly found with cash in his underwear during police raid

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Senator Chico Rodrigues, 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 any wrongdoing.

According to a Supreme Court order citing the police investigation, a police video allegedly showed Rodrigues about 15,000 reais (about $ 2,700) in his file during the search of his home. More money was found by the authorities when the senator allegedly “reached into his underwear and took other wads of money totaling 17,900 reais,” the order says, for a total hiding of one. value over $ 5,800.

The judge did not allow the videos to be broadcast.

The court order, issued Thursday, suspends Rodrigues for 90 days to ensure compliance with the ongoing investigation.

CNN Brasil has contacted the Rodrigues office for comment.However, in a press statement, Rodrigues suggested the search was an attempt to tarnish his reputation. “I had my house invaded just because I was doing my job as a parliamentarian, bringing resources to fight Covid-19 for the state health department,” he wrote.

“I will prove that I have not and that I have nothing to do with wrongdoing,” he wrote.

Brazilian Supreme Federal Court Minister Luis Roberto Barroso wrote that investigation was needed to determine whether Rodrigues “was using his parliamentary function to embezzle money intended to deal with the biggest pandemic in 100 years” .

According to the court order, “there are signs of the senator’s involvement in a criminal organization aimed at deviating values ​​intended for measures related to Covid-19 in Roraima state.” Federal Police investigators also said that “the money found in the body of the senator during the raid has not had its legal origin proven, being highly susceptible to the crime of embezzlement practiced due to overvalued contracts. studied ”.

Senate Leader Fernando Bezerra Coelho confirmed to CNN Brasil on Thursday that Rodrigues had stepped down as deputy government leader, saying Rodrigues wanted to focus on defending his reputation.

Bezerra then briefed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Rodrigues’ decision, and his withdrawal from the government’s leadership position was formalized on Thursday afternoon.

Brazilian federal lawmakers are protected from criminal prosecution in most cases by parliamentary immunity.

The raid was part of a series being carried out by police as part of their investigation into a possible misappropriation of public resources intended to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged Brazil. More than 152,000 people have died and more than 5.1 million have been infected, making it the country with the third highest number of cases in the world.

Rodrigues had been chosen as deputy head of government by President Bolsonaro, who campaigned for the post on an anti-corruption platform.

“I say to those who know me: stay calm. I trust justice and I will prove that I don’t have it and that I have nothing to do with wrongdoing, ”Rodrigues wrote in his statement.

Speaking to supporters outside his official residence on Thursday, Bolsonaro called the raid proof of his anti-corruption crackdown, Reuters reported.

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