Brazilian senator Chico Rodrigues is caught with notes during a search of his home
Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro – The Guardian
Chico Rodrigues reportedly had 30,000 reais (more than £4,000) in his underpants. Photograph: Adriano Machado/Reuters
Jair Bolsonaro’s efforts to portray himself as an anti-corruption crusader have suffered another blow after police reportedly seized a wad of banknotes from between the clenched buttocks of one of his allies.
Chico Rodrigues, the Brazilian president’s deputy leader in the senate, was reportedly caught with the concealed bundle on Wednesday during a police search of his home. The raid was part of an operation against the suspected misappropriation of public funds for fighting Covid-19.
The Estado de São Paulo newspaper said two sources told it 30,000 reais (more than £4,100) were stashed in the underpants of Rodrigues, a senator for the Amazon state of Roraima.
“To give you a sense of just how preposterous the situation was, some of the recovered notes were stained with faeces,” reported Revista Crusoé, the conservative magazine that broke the story.
“It was a scene of considerable embarrassment,” Crusoé said of the moment police made their discovery while scouring the senator’s home in Roraima’s capital, Boa Vista.
Brazilians shared the news under the viral hashtag #PropinaNaBunda (A Bribe up the Bum). Many suggested that the find would be remembered “in the anals of history”.
Rodrigues offered no immediate explanation for the contents of his underwear, but denied wrongdoing, hinting that rivals were trying to sully his name. “I have a clean background and a respectable life. I’ve never been involved in any kind of scandal,” the 69-year-old insisted.
Brazil’s far-right president won power in 2018 promising to eradicate political thievery after what some called the biggest corruption investigation in history.
“I don’t believe there’s any [corruption] in my government,” Bolsonaro said on Wednesday, threatening to deliver a “flying kick to the neck” of any swindling politician.
His administration has been dogged by scandal, including suspicions that one of his politician sons, Flávio, presided over a longstanding corruption racket. Flávio Bolsonaro has denied those claims.