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Rio mayor arrested as part of corruption investigation

By AFP - Dec 23,2020 - Last updated at Dec 23,2020

RIO DE JANEIRO — Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella was arrested on Tuesday as part of an investigation into corruption at the municipality, a source at the public prosecutor’s confirmed to AFP.

Images shown on GloboNews television channel showed police arresting the mayor at his home in the upscale Barra de Tijuca neighbourhood just before 6:00am (09:00 GMT).

“I’m the mayor that’s done the most against corruption in Rio de Janeiro. I ask that justice be served,” said Crivella, who was just nine days away from the end of his mandate.

He received support from far-right President Jair Bolsonaro at last month’s municipal elections but was soundly beaten.

Several other people were also arrested as part of the same operation including businessman Rafael Alves, who is suspected of being the brain behind the operation.

He is the brother of Marcelo Alves, the president of the municipal tourism agency, Riotur.

Mauro Macedo, Crivella’s former campaign treasurer, was also arrested.

He is the cousin of evangelical preacher Edir Macedo, who is also Crivella’s uncle.

According to the investigation, which began in 2018, companies that wanted to secure contracts with Riotur gave checks to Rafael Alves.

During his reelection campaign Crivella, 63, claimed his centre-right opponent Eduardo Paes, who beat him by 64 per cent to 36 per cent, would go to prison for corruption.

Crivella is a former pastor, missionary and gospel singer. Throughout his mandate, Crivella faced investigations over mismanagement, accused of mixing politics and religion and favoring members of his church.

In July 2018, according to O Globo newspaper, Crivella promised some evangelical preachers that members of Edir Macedo’s Universal Church of the Kingdom of God would receive priority for cataract operations in municipal clinics.

The public prosecutor’s office recently opened an inquiry into the suspected use of Macedo’s church to launder money.

 

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