Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro accused of allegedly falsifying Covid vaccination data

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Adriano Machado/Reuters

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in front of his house before testifying before the Federal Police in Brasilia, Brazil, on February 22, 2024.


Brazil’s former leader Jair Bolsonaro has been charged by the country’s federal police on suspicion of fraud over allegations that he falsified Covid-19 vaccination data while he was still president, affiliate CNN Brazil reported Tuesday.

Police say the far-right leader allegedly ordered one of his closest associates to enter false vaccination data into the Health Ministry system for him and his daughter, according to CNN Brazil.

“Evidence collected” for the investigation shows that Bolsonaro acted voluntarily when he allegedly ordered false data to be added to the country’s health system, police said, according to CNN Brazil.

Bolsonaro’s closest collaborator, Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, and 15 other people were also charged with alleged participation in the same plot.

Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Fabio Wajngarten, called the accusation “absurd.”

“The whole world knows (Bolsonaro’s) personal opinion on the issue of vaccination,” he wrote in X. “While he was president he was completely exempt from presenting any type of certificate on his trips.”

Last May, Brazilian police carried out a search and seizure at Bolsonaro’s home in Brasilia in connection with allegedly falsified vaccination 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.

The Brazilian Prosecutor’s Office will now have to determine whether to move forward with the accusation.

Bolsonaro was widely criticized at home and abroad for downplaying the severity of the virus during the pandemic, including discouraging people from getting vaccinated, even as Brazil battles a serious coronavirus outbreak.

In 2021, it publicly flouted a U.N. requirement that foreign delegations be vaccinated before entering its headquarters in New York. Multiple members of your delegation He later tested positive for the virus.

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

After Bolsonaro narrowly lost the election to leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his supporters rioted and broke into government buildings in Brasilia on January 8, 2023. Bolsonaro has denied excitement he violent attacks in the capital.

Last year, the country’s highest electoral court banned Bolsonaro from running for political office until 2030 for abusing his power and misuse of public media during the 2022 election campaign.

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