Brasilia: Brazil's right wing President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday slammed Rio de Janeiro's public prosecutor over a corruption investigation targeting his eldest son Flavio, a federal senator.
Bolsonaro said his family is the victim of a media campaign and accused the prosecutor of leaking information on the case, then blamed the situation on a possible move by Rio state governor Wilson Witzel, a former ally, "who wants to be president" in 2022.
Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, 38, is suspected of money laundering during his time as a regional lawmaker in Rio.
"The investigation began last year and they've still found nothing," Bolsonaro said as he left his official residence in the capital Brasilia, where journalists mingled with his supporters.
"If Flavio did something wrong then it's up to him to respond, not me." Visibly flustered, Bolsonaro then turned to one of the reporters and said: "You have the face of a homosexual but that doesn't mean I'm going to accuse you of being a homosexual, even though it's not a crime to be homosexual." Flavio Bolsonaro is under investigation for money laundering and diverting public funds when he was a Rio de Janeiro state deputy from 2003 to 2018.
Specifically, he's suspected of having employed phantom employees whose salaries were then used to buy an apartment and a chocolate store in cash.
Police on Wednesday raided properties belonging to the senator, several of his former advisers, and relatives of the president's ex-wife Ana Cristina Siqueira Valle, the mother of his fourth son, Renan.
Flavio Bolsonaro posted a video on social media on Thursday protesting his innocence.
"There's an absurd persecution against me in Rio de Janeiro because they want to get at the president through me," he said.
"But we've done nothing wrong," he said.
The senator has petitioned the Supreme Court to suspended the Rio prosecutor's investigation, local media reported.