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Scandalous: Ex-Brazilian President Bolsonaro Faces Whale Harassment Probe

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Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro finds himself entangled in yet another legal controversy as he faces an investigation for allegedly harassing a humpback whale while riding a personal watercraft off the coast of Sao Paulo last year.

Bolsonaro, accompanied by his lawyer and former adviser, appeared at the federal police headquarters in Sao Paulo on Tuesday to meet with officers regarding the ongoing investigation. The incident in question, captured in a June 2023 video circulating on social media, purportedly shows a man riding a personal watercraft dangerously close to a whale, a violation of Brazilian legislation that mandates a minimum distance of 100 meters between motored vessels and whales.

Federal prosecutors, who are also probing the case, have suggested that the individual in the video appears to be Bolsonaro. If proven intentional, such actions could carry a sentence of up to two to five years in prison along with a fine.

However, Bolsonaro’s supporters argue that these legal challenges are politically motivated, echoing his claims of persecution since leaving office. Last week, Bolsonaro faced questioning in Brasilia over allegations of plotting a coup to remove his successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, from power. Documents from the Supreme Court reveal accusations that Bolsonaro and his aides drafted a decree aimed at contesting the legitimacy of the 2022 election results, though the plan was never executed.

In addition to these legal battles, Bolsonaro has been barred from running for office until 2030 and is facing investigations into allegations of smuggling diamond jewellery and luxury watches, as well as potential surveillance of political opponents during his presidency.

Despite these challenges, Bolsonaro maintains his innocence. Legal experts suggest that if authorities can establish Bolsonaro’s intentional approach to the whale, he may face a fine at most.

The case draws parallels to a similar incident involving a local politician who was found guilty of comparable charges and fined 2,500 reais (just over $500) in the same location. As the investigation unfolds, the outcome will shed light on the extent of Bolsonaro’s legal liabilities and the potential repercussions for his political future.

Image by Palácio do Planalto on Flickr

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