Rio mayor arrested in suspected corruption case

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Rio de Janeiro | The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Crivella, was arrested Tuesday morning as part of an investigation into an alleged system of corruption within the Brazilian municipality, the prosecution confirmed to AFP.

According to the images shown by the GloboNews channel, the city councilor, who is nine days from the end of his mandate, was arrested by the civil police and the services of the state prosecutor before 6 a.m. at his home in the affluent neighborhood. from Barra de Tijuca. The chosen one was taken to the police station to be heard.

“I am the mayor who has acted the most against corruption in Rio de Janeiro. I demand justice, ”Marcelo Crivella, who was backed by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in municipal elections last month, told reporters but failed to win re-election.

Several other people were arrested during the same operation, including businessman Rafael Alves, suspected of being the mastermind of the case and brother of Marcelo Alves, former president of the municipal tourism agency Riotur.

Mauro Macedo, ex-campaign treasurer of Crivella and cousin of evangelical pastor Edir Macedo, founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD, neo-Pentecostal), of which the mayor of Rio is a nephew, was also arrested.

According to the survey, which began in 2018, companies that wanted to make deals with Riotur handed checks to businessman Rafael Alves.

The 63-year-old Mr. Crivella thus completes a mandate marked by multiple controversies since he will pass the baton on January 1 to Eduardo Paes (MDB, center-right), who beat him in the November elections by more than 30 points (64% to 36%).

During the campaign, in which he sought to show his closeness to far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who recorded several campaign spots alongside him, the outgoing mayor insisted his successor would go to jail for alleged corruption.

Throughout his tenure, Mr. Crivella, a former pastor, missionary and gospel singer, has been the subject of several lawsuits aimed at his mismanagement, accused of mixing politics and religion and favoring the members of his church.

In July 2018, according to the newspaper O Globo, he promised during a meeting with evangelical pastors that the faithful of the IURD would have priority for cataract operations in municipal clinics.

The prosecutor’s office recently opened an investigation into the alleged use of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to launder corruption money.

After having been the center of attention around the world with the reception of major sporting events such as the final of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro plunged into a serious political and financial crisis.

Rio state governor Wilson Witzel was dismissed at the end of August for alleged corruption. Before him, the last five governors of Rio have been in trouble with the law and four of them have even served in prison.

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