Mayor Marcelo Crivella

29 December 2020

Rio de Janeiro state police arrested outgoing Mayor Marcelo Crivella on Tuesday (22 December 2020) in connection with an alleged kickbacks scheme. One of his advisers was also detained. It was reported in local media that Crivella had close links to Rafael Alves, a businessman who was also arrested on Tuesday. Alves did not hold any official position, but his brother was the head of the city’s tourism office. Alves held frequent meetings with Crivella. Investigators alleged that Alves was the person who decided which companies would be awarded contracts.

Crivella,63, a bishop of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, turned politician is scheduled to leave office on 1 January 2021 after losing a reelection bid to his predecessor, Eduardo Paes. His Church has been accused of wide range of crimes including embezzlement and human trafficking. The Church has been subject to bans in several African countries. The church supported Jair Bolsonaro in the president election in the 2018.

In recent months residents have accused him of mishandling the corona virus epidemic. Even then the news of his dawn arrest as part of an operation dubbed “Hades” came as a surprise to Rio’s residents.

Crivella is a close ally of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Rio state governor Wilson Witzel is also under suspicion of corruption. He was suspended from office since August when one of Brazil’s top courts linked him to irregularities in the healthcare sector amid the fight against COVID-19. Witzel is also battling impeachment proceedings. If impeached, the job would go to his deputy who is also facing corruption allegations.

Washington Post reported.