The Federal Police (PF) will collect simultaneous testimonies, this Thursday (31), in the case of the illegal obtaining and sale of jewelry during the mandate of Jair Bolsonaro (PL).
In addition to Bolsonaro and former first lady Michelle Bolsonaro, six other investigated will be heard: Mauro Cid, Bolsonaro’s former assistant, Mauro Lourena Cid, Cid’s father, Frederick Wassef, Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Fabio Wajngarten, former head of communications for the Bolsonaro government, Marcelo Câmara, Bolsonaro’s special advisor, and Osmar Crivellati, Bolsonaro’s advisor.
The objective of simultaneous testimonies is to identify possible contradictions between the versions presented by the deponents. According to the PF, an offensive had been mounted at the Palácio do Planalto to circumvent the registration of gifts from foreign delegations, such as Saudi jewelry, in the sector responsible for cataloging the objects.
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In the words of Alexandre de Moraes, minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) responsible for reporting on the case, there is evidence that the scheme was carried out by Bolsonaro’s “determination”. In the same vein, the PF reported in a note that “there is strong evidence that those investigated used the structure of the Brazilian State to divert assets of high patrimonial value delivered by foreign authorities to the President of the Republic (…) with the aim of generating the illicit enrichment of former president Jair Bolsonaro”.
The amounts obtained from the sales would have been “converted into cash and entered the personal assets of those investigated, through interposed people and without using the formal banking system, with the aim of hiding the origin, location and ownership of the amounts.” The total amount raised from the sale of foreign gifts may have exceeded R$1 million.
On August 11, Mauro Cid, his father, Osmar Crivelatti and Frederick Wassef were targets of the PF’s Operation Luke 12:2 – in reference to the Bible verse that says “there is nothing hidden that will not be discovered, or hidden that will not be known” – with search warrants authorized by Minister Alexandre de Moraes. Six days later, on August 17, the magistrate authorized the breach of confidentiality of bank accounts abroad in the name of former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL), lieutenant colonel Mauro Cid and reserve general Mauro César Lourena Cid.
Mauro Cid’s father
In one of the attempts to sell the gifts, the face of Army General Mauro César Lourena was identified in a photo used to request an evaluation of the object in specialized stores in the United States, according to a PF report. When photographing a box with glass doors, the general photographed the reflection of his face. According to the PF document, it was Mauro Cid himself who asked his father to send the objects to specialized stores.
The general also tried to sell golden sculptures in the shape of a palm tree and a boat, but was unsuccessful because he discovered that they were not made of solid gold, but merely plated with the metal. The matter was discussed between Mauro Cid and Bolsonaro’s then advisor Marcelo Câmara.
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“Those two pieces that I brought from Brazil: that ship and that tree; they are not gold. They have gold parts, but they are not all gold. So I can’t sell them. There is a guy here who asked to give take a more detailed look to see how much you can offer. I need to leave the piece there (…) so he can give the quote. So I’m going to do that, I’m going to leave the piece with him today.” The sculptures were gifts from the Bahrain government in 2019.
Retired general Mauro César Lourena was director of the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex) in the United States throughout Bolsonaro’s administration. In this position, he received a salary of approximately R$63,000 per month.
In another audio for Marcelo Câmara, Mauro Cid mentions a jewelry auction that would take place on February 8, 2023, to which he would send a set of jewelry containing a watch. According to the PF, this is one of the sets of jewelry presented to Bolsonaro by Saudi Arabia. The men’s jewelry kit, consisting of a pen, a ring, a pair of cufflinks, an Arabic rosary (masbaha) and a watch, was taken by Mauro Cid to the United States on the same plane that took Jair Bolsonaro to Orlando, on 30 December. December last year, on the eve of the end of his term.
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As indicated on the website where the item was published, the starting price was US$50 thousand, corresponding to approximately R$245 thousand considering the current exchange rate. The value estimate was in the range between US$ 120 thousand and US$ 140 thousand, equivalent to approximately R$588 thousand to R$686 thousand.
Scheme to recover the jewelry
According to the PF, after the Federal Audit Court (TCU) identified the existence of Saudi jewels and ordered the delivery of the objects to the Union, a scheme was carried out to recover the jewels sold in the United States by Mauro Cid, in March of this year. .
“After being illegally diverted from the private collection of the former President of the Republic Jair Bolsonaro, in November 2022, he was evaded from the country, possibly by means of the presidential plane, at the end of December 2022, to the United States of America. Then, Mauro Cesar Cid and other people not yet identified, forwarded the material to the company Fortuna Auction in New York. On February 8, 2023, the kit was put up for auction, but it was not auctioned, not being sold due to circumstances beyond the control of those investigated”, stated the PF.
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“Later, after the unsuccessful sale attempt, and with the press disclosing the existence of said jewels, Mauro Cid, Marcelo Camara and Osmar Crivelatti organized a ‘rescue operation’ of the goods, which were sent to the city of Orlando/FL , where the former President of the Republic Jair Bolsonaro resided. After TCU decided that the kit be returned to the Brazilian State, the investigated internalized the goods, returning them on March 24, 2023 at the Caixa Econômica Federal branch , in the city of Brasília/DF”, says an excerpt from the investigation.
Mauro Cid also sold a Patek Philippe watch on June 13, 2022, which was reportedly presented by Bahrain authorities in 2021 and sold to a store in the United States the following year. “The watch and that other kit will go, go, go to February 7th, go to auction. Then we’ll see how much they will fetch”, said Mauro Cid in a message also sent to Marcelo Câmara. The object would have been taken to the USA on a trip in June last year, when Bolsonaro participated in the Summit of the Americas.
The clock does not appear in the official records of Palácio do Planalto, according to the PF report. “No record of the Patek Philippe watch (in the presidential collection) was identified, a fact that indicates the possibility that the said item did not even pass through the then Deputy Office of Historical Documentation, being diverted directly to the inauguration of former president Jair Bolsonaro”, says the report.
In the model’s certificate of authenticity, which was received by Bolsonaro from Mauro Cid, the watch is valued at approximately US$51,000 (around R$250,000). The piece and another Rolex watch, a Saudi gift, were sold by Mauro Cid, on June 13, 2022, in a store in Pennsylvania, in the United States, for US$68,000. The PF investigation proved that Mauro Cid was at the watch store through an investigation on the Waze app and through the establishment’s Wi-Fi connection.
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The amount of US$68,000 was deposited into the account of General Mauro Cesar Lourena, whose bank details were sent to Mauro Cid the day before. “The evidence collected indicates that Mauro Cid, after leaving the presidential delegation on June 13, 2022, traveled from Miami to the city of Willow Grove, in the state of Pennsylvania/USA. In the city he went to the store’s headquarters Precision Watches and sold the Rolex Day-Date watch, which was part of the so-called ‘White Gold kit’.” These items were gifted to Brazil by Saudi Arabia.
“After completing the sale of said watch, together with the Patek Philippe watch, the amount of US$ 68,000.00 was deposited, on the same day, in the bank account of Mauro Cesar Lourena Cid, father of Mauro Cesar Barbosa Cid”, points out the investigation.
The recovery of the Patek Philippe watch, after the TCU had determined that it should be returned, involved Frederick Wassef, who traveled to Pennsylvania (USA) in March and repurchased the object.
Editing: Vivian Virissimo