Rio de Janeiro’s outgoing mayor was arrested on Tuesday on graft allegations in an embarrassment for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, an ideological ally and anti-corruption campaigner who had backed the mayor’s failed re-election bid.
Marcelo Crivella, who was arrested at home in western Rio just nine days before the end of his term, denied any wrongdoing and said he was the target of political persecution.
“I am innocent and I don’t know what is going on,” Crivella told reporters after his arrest.
A former evangelical pastor, Crivella is the nephew of billionaire preacher Edir Macedo, one of Brazil’s wealthiest men and most politically connected religious leaders. The support of figures such as Macedo and Brazil’s huge evangelical voting bloc was crucial to the far-right Bolsonaro’s 2018 election victory.
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