Two sets of jewelery were not enough, one of them valued at R$16.5 million, former president Jair Bolsonaro received and incorporated a third set of jewelery and diamonds as a gift from Saudi Arabia, according to an investigation by the State.
The third set includes a white gold Rolex watch set with diamonds, enclosed in a wooden case that contains the green symbol of the coat of arms of Saudi Arabia. Also includes a Chopard pen, a pair of cufflinks, a ring and a rosary. All items are in white gold and set with diamonds.
According to Estadãothis third set of jewels was received during an official trip to Doha, Qatar, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, between October 28 and 30, 2019. The gift would have been received by the former president himself.
Upon returning to Brazil with the third set of jewels, Bolsonaro requested that the items be taken to his personal collection in November 2019, according to the Presidency’s Assistant Cabinet for Historical Documentation.
Seized jewelry set
The complaint adds to the other two that Bolsonaro also incorporated a second jewelry kit and even tried to illegally bring another set to Brazil.
In October 2021, the Bolsonaro government tried to bring a necklace, ring, watch and a pair of diamond earrings valued at R$ 16.5 million. The items, which would also be a gift from Saudi Arabia to Bolsonaro and the then first lady Michelle Bolsonaro, were seized by inspection at São Paulo International Airport, in Guarulhos.
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Former Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque, upon learning of the seizure, tried to negotiate the release of the items using the position of his office. The attempt, however, did not work and the jewels continued to be seized, since any asset whose value exceeds US$ 1,000 must be declared to the Federal Revenue Service.
Second built-in jewelry set
Bolsonaro also confirmed that he incorporated one of the jewelry packages sent by Saudi Arabia into his private collection, in an interview with the network of CNN.
This other package was not intercepted by the Federal Revenue upon arrival in Brazil, unlike the package valued at R$ 16.5 million seized. In total, the package that was left with Bolsonaro includes a watch, pen, cuff links, a ring and a type of rosary.
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Bolsonaro also said that he did not commit any illegality. “There was no illegality. I followed the law, as I always did”, he said. “I am now being crucified in Brazil for a gift I did not receive. I saw it in some newspapers maliciously saying that I tried to bring illegal jewelry to Brazil. There is no such thing “, he said about the seized jewelry.
Later, the Federal Court of Auditors (TCU) ordered Bolsonaro to return this second set of jewels. Minister Bruno Dantas, president of the TCU, argued that a gift should be classified as a very personal and low-value item to be incorporated into the private assets of executive heads, which is not the case with jewelry.
“It is necessary, once and for all, to separate the public from the private. This understanding of the TCU comes in the sense of making clear what should be incorporated into the public heritage. And, in the case of these jewels, there is no doubt that, at least value they have, they must be incorporated into public property, never into the private property of any authority”, said Dantas at the end of the session.
Bolsonaro’s defense returned the items on March 24.
The TCU also determined that an audit be carried out on all gifts received by Jair Bolsonaro. The decision came after federal deputy Luciene Cavalcante (PSOL-SP) requested “an audit of the assets declared by the former president of private collections at the end of his term”, in a letter filed on Tuesday (14) at the TCU.
Editing: Nicolau Soares
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