Police raided former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s home on Wednesday and seized his phone as part of an investigation into forged COVID-19 vaccine documents, a federal police spokesperson told Semafor.
Authorities said they were executing 16 search warrants and six arrest warrants against a “criminal association” that sought to falsify vaccine records.
Authorities are specifically investigating whether Bolsonaro falsified his vaccine status so he could travel to Florida in late December, The Washington Post reported. The United States requires noncitizens to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the country.
Bolsonaro was a skeptic of COVID-19 and the vaccines, and had said publicly he wouldn’t get vaccinated. But about a month ago, federal officials said they have health records that indicted he received the shot in 2021.
A police statement did not specify the targets, but a spokesperson linked the probe to the search at Bolsonaro’s home on Wednesday.
Two of Bolsonaro’s aides were also arrested, Reuters reported.
Speaking to reporters outside his home Wednesday, Bolsonaro denied any wrongdoing, saying no records were falsified and he never got vaccinated, Brazilian media reported.
“I didn’t take the vaccine. Period,” he said.
The former president returned to Brazil at the end of March after spending three months in Florida. He is the target of a number of investigations, including allegations that he attacked Brazil’s electoral system and improperly received foreign gifts.