Rio’s evangelical mayor, a Bolsonaro ally, arrested on graft fees

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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) -Rio de Janeiro’s outgoing mayor was arrested on Tuesday on graft allegations in an shame for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, an ideological ally and anti-corruption campaigner who had backed the mayor’s failed re-election bid.

Marcelo Crivella, who was arrested at residence in western Rio just nine times in advance of the close of his time period, denied any wrongdoing and stated he was the concentrate on of political persecution.

“I am harmless and I really don’t know what is going on,” Crivella explained to reporters right after his arrest.

A former evangelical pastor, Crivella is the nephew of billionaire preacher Edir Macedo, a single of Brazil’s wealthiest males and most politically linked religious leaders. The support of figures such as Macedo and Brazil’s substantial evangelical voting bloc was important to the considerably-right Bolsonaro’s 2018 election victory.

Bolsonaro endorsed Crivella’s re-election try, which the unpopular mayor lost, drawing just 36% of votes in a November run-off vote. Crivella’s arrest poses uncomfortable inquiries for the president, who has railed from corruption in preceding administrations and pledged to thoroughly clean up Brazil’s filthy politics.

Crivella is just the most current Rio politician to be arrested around suspected graft. Rio condition Governor Wilson Witzel was suspended from place of work on Aug. 28 on problems he would interfere with graft inquiries he is going through. Corruption investigations landed five of his predecessors in jail.

The investigation into Crivella is primarily based in part on plea deal testimony from anyone who admitted to laundering money for a group with ties to the mayor, running a deal kickback plan, prosecutors mentioned.

Other suspects had been also arrested on Tuesday, police claimed.

Reporting by Rodrigo Viga and Sabrina ValleWriting by Gabriel StargardterEditing by Brad Haynes, Steve Orlofsky and Mark Heinrich

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