Brazil audit court orders Bolsonaro to return Saudi jewelry gift

BRASILIA, March 15 (Reuters) – Brazil’s federal audit court (TCU) on Wednesday ruled that former President Jair Bolsonaro must deliver within five days a second set of jewelry he received from the Saudi government.

The decision comes a few days after Brazilian police launched an investigation into an attempt to illegally bring the jewelry valued at $3.2 million into the country, gifts to the then-president and his wife Michelle from by the Saudi king.

On Monday, Bolsonaro’s lawyer said in a letter to the police that the former president will deliver the second gift to the state as part of its collection of presidential gifts.

The TCU court also ordered that the first set of jewelry, seized by customs officials in 2021 in the backpack of a government aide returning from Saudi Arabia, be kept in custody at the presidential offices, in addition to opening an audit on all gifts received by Bolsonaro during his term.

Several officials from the Bolsonaro administration unsuccessfully tried to recover the jewelry — a diamond necklace, ring, watch and earrings — that was being held by customs, according to local media.

Bolsonaro, who is still in self-exile in the United States, will be called to testify as part of the investigation, Brazilian Justice Minister Flavio Dino said on Monday.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Editing by Sandra Maler

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