Brazil: police search the home of the likely presidential candidate


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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Brazilian Federal Police on Wednesday raided the home of Ciro Gomes, a leftist politician who is due to run for president next year, as part of a corruption probe into work on a World Cup stadium in the northeast of Fortaleza. .

On his official Twitter account, Gomes confirmed the research.

Federal police said in a statement that the 14 search and seizure warrants were aimed at investigating fraud and bribes paid to politicians and officials for work on the Castelao football stadium in the region. capital of the state of Ceara ahead of the 2014 football tournament.


Gomes’ brother, Cid, currently a senator, was then governor of Ceara. Police also raided his home, according to reports in various local newspapers. In their statement, the police did not confirm who was targeted. Cid Gomes’ press office did not immediately respond to calls or requests for comment.

On Twitter, Ciro Gomes expressed his distaste for the operation, saying it revealed President Jair Bolsonaro had turned Brazil into a police state. He denied any wrongdoing, stressing that he did not hold any public office related to the alleged crimes and had no connection with them.

“Until this morning, I imagined we lived, even with its imperfections, in a democratic country,” Gomes wrote. “I have no doubt that this belated and disproportionate action has a clear objective of trying to undermine my pre-candidacy for the presidency.”

Gomes, who was governor of Ceara in the mid-1990s, has run for president three times, most recently in 2018 against then-candidate Bolsonaro. Failing to qualify for the second round against Bolsonaro, Gomes refused to support the leftist Workers’ Party candidate.

Ahead of next year’s elections, early polls show former Workers’ Party President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva holding a significant lead, with nearly half of those polled saying they intend to vote for him, according to a poll released Tuesday by the pollster Ipec. . Just over 20% of people say they want to vote for Bolsonaro and 5% for Gomes.

Da Silva took to Twitter to express his solidarity with Ciro and Cid Gomes, saying the two politicians deserve respect and the police search was unnecessary.

Police said in their statement that investigations began in 2017, based on reports that a company paid bribes in order to win the contract for the stadium works. There were indications of 11 million reais ($ 1.9 million) in bribes paid in cash or disguised as campaign donations, the statement said.

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