Bolsonaro’s vaccine card cast earlier than coming into U.S., police say Lalrp KGIGA4XJXUI63BU6TBW5K4J3ZA

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police are investigating whether or not former president Jair Bolsonaro tried to deceive American authorities into wrongly believing the longtime vaccine skeptic had been vaccinated in opposition to the coronavirus so he might achieve entry to the US, investigators mentioned Wednesday.

Federal police carried out a search and seizure operation at Bolsonaro’s Brasília tackle early Wednesday and arrested a number of shut associates, together with a high aide tasked with finishing up Bolsonaro’s administrative calls for.

The police motion opened up a brand new line of inquiry into the embattled former president, who narrowly misplaced his reelection bid to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva final 12 months and is now the topic of an more and more variety of investigations that might finish his political profession and even put him in jail.

Bolsonaro, a longtime vaccine skeptic, has publicly asserted for years that he by no means acquired a coronavirus vaccine. However in late 2022, shortly after Bolsonaro misplaced the election, Brazilian police say, his vaccine standing was falsified to say the previous president had been vaccinated. Inside weeks, he decamped for Florida in the US, which solely grants entry to vaccinated noncitizens.

Police have requested to query Bolsonaro relating to the matter later Wednesday.

Outdoors of his home, in feedback to reporters, he denied involvement in any fraud.

Brasília revolt has solely served to deepen polarization in Brazil

“I didn’t get the vaccine,” he mentioned. “I used to be by no means requested for a vaccination card [to enter the U.S.]. There is no such thing as a fraud on my half. I didn’t take the vaccine, interval.”

Alleging a “felony affiliation,” police say Bolsonaro’s advisers entered incorrect info into the ministry of well being system to acquire falsified vaccine certificates for Bolsonaro, his 12-year-old daughter, Laura, and a number of other aides and their members of the family.

Police suspect ideology led to the choice to commit fraud fairly than get vaccinated.

“The investigation signifies that the target of the group was to carry collectively in relation to their ideological agenda,” police mentioned in a press release. “On this case, to maintain the rhetoric relating to their assaults on the coronavirus vaccine.”

Bolsonaro arrives residence in Brazil — and faces an unsure future

The USA does present a number of exemptions for its vaccine mandate on entry of noncitizens, together with “individuals on diplomatic or official international authorities journey,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However the Brazilian international ministry informed The Washington Put up that Bolsonaro, who was nonetheless president on the time of his entry into the US, was not on official state enterprise when he entered the US. No diplomatic assembly had been scheduled.

The drama gives the most recent chapter in what has been a years-long saga of Bolsonaro and the coronavirus vaccine. From the beginning, he has been skeptical of just about the whole lot involving a illness that has killed 700,000 in Brazil — first its lethality, then measures to curb its unfold, and eventually the vaccine that well being officers mentioned was important to overcoming it.

How Bolsonaro’s rhetoric — then his silence — stoked Brazil assault

He repeatedly declined to publicize his vaccination standing, calling it non-public well being situation. However in late 2021 that he nonetheless refused to get vaccinated: “Let me die. The problem is mine.

The police inquiry is considered one of a half-dozen felony investigations involving the previous president. He’s additionally beneath investigation for allegedly inspiring a mob to grab crucial federal buildings in Brasília shortly after Lula’s inauguration and for baselessly alleging that the electoral system can be marred with fraud.

Bolsonaro, who returned to Brazil final month, has shortly reentered political life. He’s planning a visit to the northeast and addressed 1000’s of supporters at an agricultural competition in São Paulo final weekend. He has been reported to be plotting to run for the Brazilian senate in 2026.