Party of Brazil’s Bolsonaro investigated for transfers

February 14, 2019
In this photo released by Brazil's Presidential Press Office, President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the Brasilia Air Base, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. President Bolsonaro has been released from a hospital after 17 days of treatment related to a stabbing he suffered during the campaign. (AP Photo/Marcos Correa/Brazil's Presidency)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s justice minister says police will investigate reports that President Jair Bolsonaro’s party gave money to so-called “front” candidates during last year’s elections.

Justice Minister Sergio Moro made the comments Thursday, as questions mounted about irregular transfers.

Funding candidates with no chance of winning has historically been a way to get around campaign finance laws in Brazil, get kickbacks, or both.

Daily Folha de S. Paulo reported over the weekend that Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party transferred $130,000 to a Pernambuco state legislator candidate who only captured 274 votes.

Another report found that Marcelo Alvario Antonio, a party stalwart who is now Bolsonaro’s tourism minister, sent money to four suspected “front” candidates in Minas Gerais.

Bolsonaro campaigned on promises to crack down on widespread corruption in Latin America’s largest nation.