As Jair Bolsonaro faces defeat at the 2022 Brazilian Presidential Elections, many believe that the outgoing President may face criminal charges as he and his cronies and allies lose the presidential immunity that has largely kept his investigations at bay.

Bolsonaro, who has claimed many times that his administration has “zero corruption,” is reportedly worried that he and his allies might be looking at the possibility of prison time due to his loss in the election, which removes much of the immunity that had protected him during his term, according to the New York Times.

“After leaving office, there is no immunity, none, for crimes committed by a former president in Brazil,” law professor Eloísa Machado from Sao Paolo said.

During the campaign for the Presidency, Bolsonaro has highlighted his opponent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s previous corruption convictions related to overpriced oil contracts to Petrobras, despite the latter's conviction being overturned in 2021 after the judge was found colluding with the prosecutors, BBC reported.

Lula has pointed out himself that Bolsonaro’s “secret budget” has allowed many officials in Brazil to spend with limited oversight, and that widespread fraud charges allegedly benefiting public officials have been uncovered by the press and the police during his term.

Multiple embezzlement charges and accusations have come across Bolsonaro and the Congress that he allegedly controls. In exchange for deferring over 130 impeachment requests, lawmakers and police officials were reportedly granted $8 billion in funds in the “secret budget.”

“It's an institutionalization of corruption, a way of buying Congress using the country's budget,” Bruno Brandão from the Brazilian chapter of Transparency International said.

Among the reasons why Bolsonaro has been allegedly shielded from investigation is due to his appointment of Augusto Aras as attorney general, who allegedly shelved 100 inquiries behind the outgoing President’s conduct, including questions of corruption regarding his usage of COVID-19 funds.

Lula has promised to push towards investigating these reports once elected into position: “On my first day of government, I will lift these secrecies.”

Bolsonaro Election Defeat Rep. Pic
As Jair Bolsonaro finds himself defeated in the most recent Presidential elections in Brazil, many believe that he might be criminally charged for his conduct during his Presidency once his term has ended. This is a representational image. Matheus Câmara da Silva/Unsplash.

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