The Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office has indicated this Tuesday that it sees “solid evidence” of fraud and corruption after the security forces registered the official residence of the governor, Wilson Witzel, within the framework of ‘Operation Placebo’, which investigates the diversion of public funds to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Investigators have noted that there would be sufficient evidence that Witzel has been involved in awarding contracts with field hospitals to combat COVID-19.

The governor, for his part, has expressed his “indignation” and has assured that it is an “act of violence in a democratic State of Law”. “They will not be able to label me with corruption,” he said, according to information from the G1 news portal.

Thus, he has said he is the victim of political “persecution” and has guaranteed that what has happened to him “could have happened to other governors considered enemies of the federal government.”

The Federal Police has explained that “Operation Placebo” aims to determine if resources were diverted that theoretically should have been used to combat the pandemic. A suspected corruption plot is suspected that would revolve around an organization hired to install field hospitals.

The operation, authorized by the Superior Court of Justice (TSJ) – responsible for ordering actions against governors – has twelve search warrants. Along with Witzel, authorities would also investigate his wife and a former health officer who had already been detained, Gabriell Neves.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the states most affected by the coronavirus in Brazil and accumulates more than 4,100 deaths, with a total of cases close to 40,000. Across the country, 376,000 positives and some 23,500 fatalities have already been registered.