Brazil Justice says no evidence Bolsonaro sought asylum in Hungarian embassy

Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro attends an event at the Municipal Theatre in Sao Paulo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes on Wednesday closed an investigation into whether former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro sought asylum at the Hungarian embassy in February, citing lack of evidence.

The New York Times revealed via security video footage that Bolsonaro spent two nights at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia between Feb. 12 and 14, right after his passport was seized in an investigation into an alleged military coup plot.

"There are no concrete elements that indicate ... that the investigated party intended to obtain diplomatic asylum in order to flee the country and, consequently, jeopardize the ongoing criminal investigation," Moraes said in a written decision.

The embassy stay aroused suspicions that he might seek diplomatic asylum to avoid the coup plot probe and other criminal investigations.

Bolsonaro said the stay was to maintain the close diplomatic relationship he has with Hungary, which is governed by nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban, a political ally of Bolsonaro.

Moraes said Bolsonaro's embassy visit had not violated any of the precautionary measures imposed on him in a previous court order, such as bans on making contact with other people under investigation for planning a coup and on leaving the country, which included an order to hand over all passports.

The former heads of Brazil's army and air force told police in the coup plot investigation that Bolsonaro had discussed with them his plan for a coup after he lost a presidential election in October, and that they had refused to get involved.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Steven Grattan; Editing by Kevin Liffey)