Police caught Brazilian Sen. Chico Rodrigues hiding money between his buttcheeks following a police raid on his home on Wednesday amid embezzlement allegations related to coronavirus response funding, according to a judicial source who spoke with Reuters.
The Supreme Court justice tending to the case confirmed in his sentence Thursday that police found money hidden “quite deeply in his underwear.”
Rodrigues, an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro who serves as his deputy leader in the senate, was reportedly caught following claims that he had misappropriated funds set aside for the country’s response to the Chinese coronavirus.
According to sources close to the investigation cited in Brazilian media, Rodrigues stashed around 30,000 reais (around $5,300) in his underpants in the hope that it would not be detected.
“To give you a sense of just how preposterous the situation was, some of the recovered notes were stained with feces,” reported Revista Crusoé, citing a source close to the mater. “It was a scene of considerable embarrassment.”
Rodrigues, who represents the northern state of Roraima, maintained that he is innocent despite offering no explanation for the money in his underwear.
“I believe in the justice of men and in divine justice,” he explained. “For this reason, I am calm about what happened at my residence in Boa Vista. The Federal Police did their part in following up an investigation in which my name was mentioned. However, I have had my home invaded for just doing my job as a parliamentarian, providing resources to combat Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] for the health of our country.”
On Thursday afternoon, Supreme Court Justice Luís Roberto Barroso suspended the 69-year-old from the Senate for a minimum of three months, with the possibility of making the move permanent.
“The police team possesses a video of the second personal search that was carried out,” Barroso wrote in his ruling. “However, in this case, considering the manner in which the money was hidden by Senator Chico Rodrigues – quite deeply in his underwear – I will not reproduce these images in this report so as not to cause greater embarrassment.”
While the court has not linked Rodrigues’s alleged corruption directly to Bolsonaro, the president’s inner circle has fielded multiple allegations during his term. Former Justice Minister Sergio Moro, famed as a judge for jailing corrupt politicians, resigned this year over claims that Bolsonaro had tried to interfere in a police investigation for personal gain.
Some allegations have also surfaced that his son Flávio, who is a senator for Rio de Janeiro, presided over a longstanding corruption racket. Bolsonaro has vehemently denied all the allegations, telling supporters outside his official residence on Thursday that his administration remains innocent of any wrongdoing.
“There is no corruption in my government and we fight corruption, whoever it is,” he declared, promising to give a “flying kick to the neck” of anyone caught of wrongdoing.