Bolsonaro’s legal woes mount as Brazil police probe his finances

Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro talks with media upon his arrival at Brasilia International Airport, in Brasilia, Brazil June 30, 2023. (REUTERS)
Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro talks with media upon his arrival at Brasilia International Airport, in Brasilia, Brazil June 30, 2023. (REUTERS)
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Updated 19 August 2023
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Bolsonaro’s legal woes mount as Brazil police probe his finances

Bolsonaro’s legal woes mount as Brazil police probe his finances
  • The former president has faced a congressional inquiry surrounding the Jan. 8 insurrection and multiple police probes overseen by the Supreme Court

BRASILIA: Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro faced mounting legal pressure on Friday, as police probed his personal finances and communications while a jailed former aide mulled testifying about his role in a Rolex-peddling scheme allegedly masterminded by the ex-president.
Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, narrowly missed re-election last year when he lost to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil’s most fraught vote in a generation. Bolsonaro’s baseless claims of electoral fraud culminated in his supporters’ Jan. 8 invasion of government buildings, and his legal troubles have multiplied ever since.
The former president has faced a congressional inquiry surrounding the Jan. 8 insurrection and multiple police probes overseen by the Supreme Court. At least two of his close allies who spoke with Reuters this week wondered if he may soon end up behind bars.
“Clearly, the circle is closing,” a Supreme Court source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In the latest development, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes authorized investigators to access confidential phone and bank records of Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. The ruling, first reported by local media on Thursday night, will give police greater ability to investigate the multiple allegations of wrongdoing Bolsonaro faces.
The Supreme Court declined to comment.
“Why break my banking and tax secrecy? Just ask me!” Michelle Bolsonaro posted on Instagram on Friday. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that this political persecution ... is aimed at tarnishing my family name and making me give up. They won’t! I am at peace.”
On Thursday morning, in a televised congressional probe into the Jan. 8 insurrection, a computer programmer told lawmakers that Bolsonaro last year asked him to tamper with an electronic voting machine to undermine faith in the electoral system.
The hacker, Walter Delgatti, said Bolsonaro told him in August to discuss the idea with Defense Ministry officials and offered to pardon him if he suffered legal consequences. Bolsonaro confirmed the meeting, but denied Delgatti’s accusations.
Later on Thursday, news magazine Veja reported that Bolsonaro’s former right-hand man Mauro Cid planned to confess his involvement in crimes related to the alleged sale of jewelry gifted by foreign governments. The Veja report, which cited the jailed Cid’s lawyer Cezar Bitencourt, said he would accuse Bolsonaro of being the mastermind of the racket.
Bitencourt echoed those claims to other local news outlets on Thursday but then sought to walk back some of them on Friday.
Instead of confessing to a role in the entire jewelry scam, Bitencourt said in a TV interview his client would clarify his role in the sale of a single Rolex watch. Bitencourt said Cid would say he had sold the watch on Bolsonaro’s orders, and passed the proceeds — in cash — to him or his wife.
“Confess is a very strong word,” Bitencourt told GloboNews. “Let’s say he will clarify the facts that he participated, but that’s not a confession.”

 


UK’s Sunak says first migrant flight to Rwanda will leave in 10-12 weeks

UK’s Sunak says first migrant flight to Rwanda will leave in 10-12 weeks
Updated 11 sec ago
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UK’s Sunak says first migrant flight to Rwanda will leave in 10-12 weeks

UK’s Sunak says first migrant flight to Rwanda will leave in 10-12 weeks
  • Prime minister ‘confident’ that the plan complies with all of Britain’s international obligations
LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday the first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda would leave in 10-12 weeks, as he set out plans for for his flagship policy to tackle illegal migration.
Speaking at a press conference, Sunak said he would not outline the exact operational details of the plan, but said the government had made specific preparations.
“I can confirm that we’ve put an airfield on standby, booked commercial charter planes for specific slots, and we have 500 highly trained individuals ready to escort illegal migrants all the way to Rwanda with 300 more trained in the coming weeks,” Sunak said.
“We are ready. Plans are in place. And these flights will go come what may.”
Under the timeline Sunak set out, the first flight would leave in July.
Sunak also said he was “confident” that the plan complied with all of Britain’s international obligations, responding to a question about its membership of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“If it ever comes to a choice between our national security — securing our borders — and membership of a foreign court, I’m, of course, always going to prioritize our national security,” he said, referring to the European Court of Human Rights.

North Korea fires missile off east coast, South Korea, Japan say

North Korea fires missile off east coast, South Korea, Japan say
Updated 22 April 2024
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North Korea fires missile off east coast, South Korea, Japan say

North Korea fires missile off east coast, South Korea, Japan say
  • The projectile appeared to have landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone area

SEOUL: North Korea fired “several” ballistic missiles on Monday toward the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military said.
A Japanese government alert and its coast guard also said North Korea had fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile. The projectile appeared to have landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone area, the NHK broadcaster said.
Japan’s NTV broadcaster said the projectile was a short-range ballistic missile, citing a Japanese government official.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North launched what it suspected to be several short-range ballistic missile from near its capital, Pyongyang, without providing further details.
The reports of the launch came as South Korea said its top military officer, Admiral Kim Myung-soo, had hosted the commander of US Space Command, General Stephen Whiting, on Monday to discuss the North’s reconnaissance satellite development and growing military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow.
After a summit between the two countries’ leaders in September, North Korea has been suspected of supplying arms and munitions to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, although both deny that claim.
The North is believed to be preparing to launch another spy satellite, after successfully putting a reconnaissance satellite in orbit in November.
North Korea said last week that it had fired a strategic cruise missile to test a large warhead, and a new anti-aircraft missile.
Earlier in April, the North fired a new hypersonic missile as part of its development of solid-fueled missiles for all ranges of its arsenal.
The North has defied a ban by the United Nations Security Council on developing ballistic missiles, rejecting Council resolutions as infringing on its sovereign right to defend itself.


New Iran sanctions should include Revolutionary Guards - Belgian FM

New Iran sanctions should include Revolutionary Guards - Belgian FM
Updated 22 April 2024
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New Iran sanctions should include Revolutionary Guards - Belgian FM

New Iran sanctions should include Revolutionary Guards - Belgian FM
  • There is no consensus on what legal basis the Guards could be added to bloc-wide list of entities seen as terrorist origanisaions

PARIS: New European Union sanctions against Iran in response to the country’s recent attack on Israel should include the Revolutionary Guards, Belgium’s Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said on Monday.
Speaking to journalists ahead of an EU ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg, Lahbib said that so far there was no consensus on what legal basis the Guards could be added to bloc-wide list of entities seen as terrorist origanisaions.
“We will discuss it together,” she said, adding:
“I also think we have to expand sanctions against violent settlers (in the Palestinian West Bank). We have to be balanced and make sure we won’t be accused of having double standards.”


Iranian president arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit

 Iranian president arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit
Updated 22 April 2024
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Iranian president arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit

 Iranian president arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit
  • Ebrahim Raisi arrives in Islamabad with high-level delegation and “large” team of businesspersons, says foreign office
  • Raisi’s visit to Pakistan takes place amid surging Middle East tensions following Israel’s airstrikes against Iran last week

ISLAMABAD: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Islamabad on Monday for a three-day visit to the country, Pakistan’s foreign office said, with his trip aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries amid surging tensions in the Middle East.

The Iranian president arrived in the federal capital with his spouse, a high-level delegation of cabinet members and a team of businesspersons. He was welcomed at the Islamabad Airport by Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Housing and Works Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran Mudassir Tipu. 

Raisi’s visit takes place days after Iran and Israel exchanged drone and missile strikes, escalating tensions in the already volatile Middle East.

“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi will meet at the Prime Minister’s House,” Sharif’s office said in a statement. “A round of delegation-level talks between Pakistan and Iran will also be held.”

The PMO said Sharif and Raisi would take part in a ceremony where several MoUs between the two countries would be signed.

During his visit from April 22-24, the Iranian head of state is scheduled to meet Pakistan’s prime minister, president, Senate chairman and National Assembly speaker, the foreign office said in a statement on Friday, adding that he would also visit Karachi and Lahore cities to meet the country’s provincial leadership.

Raisi’s visit will is the first by any head of state to Pakistan after the contentious elections of February 2024.

Pakistan and Iran are often at odds with each other over instability on their shared porous border, with both countries routinely trading blame for not rooting out militancy.

Tensions surged in January when Pakistan and Iran exchanged airstrikes, both claiming to target alleged militant hideouts in each other’s countries. Both sides have since then undertaken peace overtures and restored bilateral ties.

“The two sides will have a wide-ranging agenda to further strengthen Pakistan-Iran ties and enhance cooperation in diverse fields including trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign office said.

Discussions would also focus on regional and global developments as well as bilateral cooperation to combat “terrorism,” the statement added.

“Pakistan and Iran enjoy strong bilateral ties anchored in history, culture and religion,” the foreign office said. “This visit provides an important opportunity to further strengthen Pakistan-Iran relations.”

This article was originally published in Arab News Pakistan


Taiwan thanks US for aid package, says will ‘safeguard peace’

Taiwan thanks US for aid package, says will ‘safeguard peace’
Updated 22 April 2024
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Taiwan thanks US for aid package, says will ‘safeguard peace’

Taiwan thanks US for aid package, says will ‘safeguard peace’
  • Taiwanese premier Chen Chien-jen: ‘A peaceful and stable Taiwan Strait is a most important key to peace and prosperity in the world’

TAIPEI: Taiwan will work with the United States to “safeguard peace and freedom” in the region, the island’s premier said on Monday, after Washington approved billions in military aid for Taipei in the face of an increasingly assertive China.
The US House of Representatives on Saturday passed four bills in a $95 billion package, approving military aid to Ukraine and bolstering Israel’s defenses.
Some $8 billion under one bill would be used to counter China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to bring the democratic island under its control.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said Sunday that about $1.9 billion is earmarked for replenishing its military equipment and training and another $2 billion will used for “foreign military financing” for countries in the region including Taiwan.
The announcement also comes days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits China, hoping to press Beijing to curb wartime support for Russia.
“A peaceful and stable Taiwan Strait is a most important key to peace and prosperity in the world,” Taiwanese Premier Chen Chien-jen said Monday.
“Taiwan will continue to work with like-minded countries including the United States and all countries in the free democratic camp... to safeguard peace and freedom in the Indo-Pacific region and make the Taiwan Strait area more stable,” he added.
The 180-kilometer waterway separates Taiwan from China and is among the world’s busiest shipping routes.
It is also a hotspot of tensions between Beijing and Taipei, as relations have plummeted since 2016 after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen came into power.
She has refused to acknowledge Beijing’s claim over the island, saying instead that Taiwan is “already independent,” and during her two terms has bolstered defense spending for the island’s armed forces.
Her office on Sunday thanked the US Congress for approving the bills, which “shows that the United States’ security commitment to Taiwan has a clear bipartisan consensus,” said Presidential spokeswoman Olivia Lin.
Washington’s top diplomat Blinken’s trip marks a lowering of US-China friction that soared under former president Donald Trump.
High on his agenda will be what US officials say is a major push by China that has helped Russia, in the throes of the Ukraine invasion, carry out its biggest militarization since Soviet times.
But Beijing has regularly expressed anger at international support for Taipei and criticized the US of meddling in its affairs.