Brazilian far-right lawmaker Zambelli admits she employed hacker

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Congresswoman Carla Zambelli of São Paulo, one of Jair Bolsonaro’s most loyal supporters, admitted to newspaper Folha de S.Paulo that she employed hacker Walter Delgatti — a connection The Brazilian Report revealed on February 7.

Mr. Delgatti became famous after he hacked the Telegram accounts of prosecutors of Brazil’s Operation Car Wash anti-corruption probe in 2019. The information he obtained — and leaked to The Intercept Brasil — exposed a series of irregularities in the investigation and destroyed the legacy of former judge Sergio Moro. As our February 7 article explains, Mr. Delgatti wanted to add another high-profile notch to his belt, trying (but failing) to hack Brazil’s chief electoral justice, Alexandre de Moraes.

In messages exchanged with another hacker, Mr. Delgatti talked about “people willing to pay” for access to Justice Moraes’s phone. When confronted by our team, Mr. Delgatti admitted to working for Ms. Zambelli. He said he managed her social media channels, having an under-the-table contract with her at the same time he sought to hack into the justice’s phone — but said the two pieces of information are unrelated.

Speaking to The Brazilian Report, Ms. Zambelli initially said she had never employed Walter Delgatti. After being informed that Mr. Delgatti himself had confirmed the existence of a work contract between them, she added: “I don’t have any relationship with Walter with regards to trying to wiretap [Alexandre de] Moraes.” 

Now, she fully admits to employing the hacker to perform social media automation services.

Mr. Delgatti’s hacking exploits led him to jail in 2019. He is on parole and a court decision bars him from using the internet — which makes his social media management work for Ms. Zambelli an obvious no-no.

In her interview, Ms. Zambelli tried to tone down her usual radical rhetoric, saying she fears being arrested. Besides her involvement with the Car Wash hacker, the congresswoman is under scrutiny for having held a man at gunpoint on the eve of last year’s presidential runoff.

She also criticized Mr. Bolsonaro, her political mentor, saying he should have been explicit in disavowing putschist campsites that, in the two months following the election, demanded a military coup to keep Mr. Bolsonaro in power. She added that Mr. Bolsonaro shouldn’t have left Brazil for the U.S. late in December.

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