By Oisin Sweeney • 22 December 2020 • 18:40
MARCELO CRIVELLA, the controversial mayor of Rio de Janeiro and a close ally of President Jair Bolsonaro, has been arrested on corruption charges.
Local media reports that four units of police officers and prosecutors arrested Crivella during a dawn operation at his home in Rio’s affluent Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood. His arrest comes just days before his tenure is due to end after he was thrashed in a recent election by his predecessor, Eduardo Paes.
His arrest stems from allegations made in 2019 of a widescale corruption conspiracy centred on Rio’s city hall, in which large bribes were paid by companies in return for lucrative municipal contracts. Others arrested in the probe include a senior councilor and Rafael Alves, a businessman who reportedly had an office in city hall despite holding no official role.
Crivella’s term as mayor was marked by controversy for his deeply conservative views and negligent approach to the Brazillian metropolis’ myriad problems. He once described homosexuality as a “terrible evil”, and paid city employees to forcefully stop hospital patients complaining about healthcare conditions.
The former Gospel singer and evangelical bishop is a close ally of Brazil’s equally controversial President Jair Bolsonaro, and the recent arrest is seen as a major blow to his administration. Bolsonaro was elected on a platform of anti-corruption, and the President’s family home is in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil’s second-largest city has a long history of corruption, with a former governor currently in prison and the latest governor currently suspended for alleged Covid-related bribery.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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