The Brazilian public has apparently dubbed it #A Bribe up the Bum (#PropinaNaBunda in Portuguese) on social media. And if it had happened in the US, it would surely have been called PoopGate.
Whatever the name, the smelly stuff has well and truly hit the fan in Brazil as news filtered out that a close political confidant of the country’s right-wing President and self-styled anti-corruption crusader, Jair Bolsonaro, was found during a police raid with a large sum of money clenched tightly between his buttocks.
Police raided his home
So tightly, in fact, that the cash was a little …smelly …shall we say.
The politician in question is Chico Rodrigues, the Brazilian President’s deputy leader in the senate, and the raid was conducted at his home in the Amazon state of Roraima as part of a police operation against the suspected misappropriation of public funds for fighting COVID-19.
The story of yet another politician in the poo was first broken by Revista Crusoé, a conservative magazine, which reported that “It was a scene of considerable embarrassment”.
Around R88 000 hidden
Subsequently, the Estado de São Paulo, a large daily newspaper, said two sources told it that an amount of 30 000 reais (around R88 000) was found being hidden on Rodrigues’ person.
According to an article by the Latin American correspondent for the UK-based Guardian newspaper, Tom Philips, Rodrigues offered no immediate explanation for the contents of his underwear, but denied wrongdoing, hinting that rivals were trying to sully his name.
“I have a clean background and a respectable life. I’ve never been involved in any kind of scandal,” the 69-year-old insisted.
Bolsonaro, in a familiar tactic used by politicians everywhere who find themselves knee-deep in the smelly stuff, has blamed the media. He says it is using the story to portray his government as corrupt.
The President was elected in 2018 promising to eradicate corruption, but since he took office he has faced several scandals of his own, including allegedly attempting to interfere with police probes in order to shield members of his family and friends.
Ordinary Brazilians, meanwhile, are enjoying poking fun at the situation. Apart from making the hashtag #A Bribe up the Bum a viral sensation, the Guardian says many have suggested that the wad of cash found on Rodrigues will be remembered “in the anals of history”.