Brazil police search Bolsonaro’s home, seize his phone

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil’s Federal Police searched former President Jair Bolsonaro’s home on Wednesday and seized his phone, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said that Bolsonaro will be deposed at Federal Police headquarters and also confirmed that one of his closest allies, Mauro Cid, was arrested.

Asked about the search of Bolsonaro’s home, the Federal Police’s press office provided a statement saying officers were carrying out 16 searches and six arrests in Rio de Janeiro related to the introduction of fraudulent data related to the COVID-19 vaccine into the nation’s health system. The statement didn’t name Bolsonaro or Cid.

Television network Globo broadcast images that showed police inside Bolsonaro’s condominium complex in Brasilia.

Local media reported that the vaccine cards of Bolsonaro and his family members were altered. During the pandemic, Bolsonaro repeatedly sowed doubt about the efficacy of the vaccine.

“We trust that all doubts the Judiciary has will be clarified and it will be proven that Bolsonaro didn’t do anything illegal,” the leader of Bolsonaro’s political party, Valdemar Costa Neto, wrote on Twitter.

The police statement said that the insertion of false data occurred between November 2021 and December 2022, and enabled the people whose vaccine cards were altered to comply with the U.S. vaccine requirement to enter the country.

The investigation indicates the the objective was to “sustain the discourse aimed at attacking the vaccine against COVID-19,” the statement said.