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 has denied any wrongdoing.
According to a Supreme Court ruling referring to the police investigation, police video allegedly showed that Rodrigues had about 15,000 reais (about $ 2,700) filled in his panties during their search for his home. More money was found by authorities as the senator allegedly “put his hand in his underwear and took other bundles of money totaling 17,900 reais”, says the order for a total cache worth more than $ 5,800.
The judge did not approve the release of the videos.
The court order, handed down Thursday, suspends Rodrigues for 90 days to ensure compliance with the ongoing investigation.
CNN Brasil has reached out to Rodrigues̵
However, in a statement to the press, Rodrigues suggested that the search was an attempt to tarnish his reputation. “I had my home invaded just to do my job as a parliamentarian and brought resources to fight Covid-19 for the state health department,” he wrote.
“I want to prove that I do not have it and that I had nothing to do with anything wrong,” he wrote.
Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso wrote that the investigation was necessary to determine whether Rodrigues “used his parliamentary function to redirect money destined to meet the biggest pandemic of the last 100 years.”
According to the court ruling, “there is evidence that the senator is participating in a criminal organization aimed at deviating values intended for the measures related to Covid-19 in the state of Roraima.” The political investigators also said that “the money found in the senator’s body during the raid has not been proven to have its legal origin, as it is most likely the result of the crime of embezzlement gains practiced due to overpriced prices investigated.”
Federal legislators in Brazil are protected from prosecution in most cases by parliamentary immunity.
The raid was part of a series carried out by the police in their investigation of possible misuse of public resources earmarked 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 country with the third largest number of cases in the world.
Rodrigues had been elected as the deputy government leader by President Bolsonaro, who was fighting for the office on an anti-corruption platform.
“I say to those who know me: Be calm. I trust justice and I want to prove that I do not have it and that I had nothing to do with anything wrong,” Rodrigues wrote in his statement.