Hacker claims Bolsonaro asked him to hack into voting system ahead of 2022 vote

Hacker Claims Bolsonaro Asked Him To Hack Into Voting System Ahead Of 2022 Vote
Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro, © Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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By Diane Jeantet, Associated Press

A Brazilian hacker has claimed at a congressional hearing that then-president Jair Bolsonaro wanted him to hack into the country’s electronic voting system to expose its alleged weaknesses ahead of the 2022 presidential election.

Walter Delgatti Neto did not provide any evidence for his claim to the parliamentary commission of inquiry.


But his detailed evidence raises new allegations against the former far-right leader, who is being investigated for his role in the January 8 riots in the capital city Brasilia.

Delgatti told legislators he met in person with Mr Bolsonaro on August 10 2022 for between 90 minutes and two hours at the presidential residence.

He said he told the leader he could not hack into the electronic voting system because it was not connected to the internet.

The Associated Press asked for comment from Mr Bolsonaro’s lawyers, but they had not responded.


Mr Bolsonaro has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Bolsonaro’s political nemesis, leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, won the October 30 2022 election with just 50.9% of the votes.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Eraldo Peres/AP)


Delgatti said Mr Bolsonaro wanted the attempted hack to show voters that Brazil’s voting system was not reliable.

He said that after he explained why he could not hack into the electoral system, the Bolsonaro campaign asked him to tamper with a borrowed voting machine to make it appear, less than a month before the election’s first round, that the machine had been successfully hacked and results could be compromised.

The fraudulent hack was to be shared with news media, Delgatti said, but it was cancelled.

When the conversation got too technical, Delgatti said, Mr Bolsonaro referred him to the Ministry of Defence, which the president had told to prepare a report listing potential weaknesses in the voting system for the body that supervises elections.


Delgatti said he met with Ministry of Defence technical experts to discuss the electronic voting system on five occasions.

The first time, he said, was right after meeting with Mr Bolsonaro, when he was driven from the presidential residence to the Ministry of Defence, entering through the back entrance.

Mr Bolsonaro long stoked belief among his hardcore supporters that the nation’s electronic voting system was prone to fraud, though he never presented any evidence.

In June, a panel of judges concluded that Mr Bolsonaro abused his power to cast unfounded doubts on the country’s electronic voting system and barred him from running for office again until 2030.


Delgatti, who rose to fame in 2019 for leaking messages from several prosecutors involved in an anti-corruption probe that put dozens of top politicians and businessmen behind bars, told the commission that he spoke to Mr Bolsonaro one more time, over the phone.

During the call, he said, Mr Bolsonaro told him the phone of Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes had been tapped and asked him to claim ownership of the tapping in case authorities investigated the case.

Jair Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro (Michael M Santiago/PA)

Mr de Moraes, who at one point also led the top electoral court that supervised the election, was a recurring target of Mr Bolsonaro and his supporters.

They argued that Mr de Moraes and the rest of the court were biased against Mr Bolsonaro and favoured his main opponent, Mr Lula.

Delgatti said Mr Bolsonaro promised him a presidential pardon in case he ended up being investigated for his actions.

During Thursday’s hearing, Mr Bolsonaro’s allies in the commission questioned Delgatti’s credibility.

In 2015, Delgatti was jailed for lying about being a federal police investigator.

Two years later, he was investigated for allegedly forging documents, which he denies.

Several people have also accused him of embezzlement – allegations that resurfaced during Thursday’s hearing.

In Brazil, witnesses caught lying before a parliamentary commission of inquiry – more commonly known under its Portuguese acronym CPI – can be imprisoned, according to Luis Claudio Araujo, a law professor at Ibmec University in Rio de Janeiro.

Members of parliamentary commissions have the power to investigate, but also pass on information to prosecutors and federal police, Prof Araujo said.

The congressional hearing adds to the numerous legal headaches facing Mr Bolsonaro for activities during his term in office.

Federal police earlier this month alleged that Mr Bolsonaro received cash from the nearly 70,000 dollar (£55,000) sale of two luxury watches he received as gifts from Saudi Arabia while in office.

Officers raided the homes and offices of several people purportedly involved in the case, including a four-star army general.

Mr Bolsonaro has denied any wrongdoing involving the gifts.

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