Brazil’s Bolsonaro questioned about sneaking in diamond jewelry and the sale of two luxury watches

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian federal police are questioning former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro about attempting to sneak in diamond jewelry reportedly worth $3 million and the sale of two luxury watches he received as gifts from Saudi Arabia while in office, federal authorities said on Thursday.

Bolsonaro arrived Thursday morning at the federal police in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, a federal police spokesperson confirmed to journalists waiting outside the premises, including one from The Associated Press.

Another federal police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to the AP that he and seven others were summoned to answer questions about the jewelry.

Aside from Bolsonaro, police will also be questioning his wife Michelle, two lawyers, former aide Lt. Col. Mauro Cid, Cid’s father, Osmar Crivelatti and Marcelo Câmara, the officer said. The simultaneous hearings pose another potential blow for the embattled far-right leader, who is also the target of several other investigations.

Earlier this month, federal police raided the homes and offices of several people purportedly involved in the jewelry case and alleged Bolsonaro received nearly $70,000 for the sale of two luxury watches gifted from Saudi Arabia.

Bolsonaro has denied any wrongdoing.

His lawyers did not respond to a request for comments from the AP.

The investigation into the undeclared jewelry is just one of many legal headaches Bolsonaro faces.

Earlier this year, he was ruled ineligible to run for office until 2030 after a panel of judges concluded he abused his power and cast unfounded doubts on the country’s electronic voting system.

Another investigation revolves around Cid’s arrest in May for allegedly falsifying COVID-19 vaccine cards for his own family and Bolsonaro’s family during the pandemic.

bolsonaro-hacking-inquiry-cc8f890588a5115ff77370d236b3e149″A parliamentary commission of inquiry is also investigating whether Bolsonaro incited the Jan. 8

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Brazil’s Bolsonaro questioned about gifts of diamond jewelry

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Former President Jair Bolsonaro underwent questioning Wednesday about diamond jewelry gifts when he was in power, as part of an investigation into whether he engaged in any irregularities in bringing the items into Brazil.

The case has added to the legal jeopardy already surrounding the far-right politician’s time as president. He is also under investigation for any involvement in a rampage by his supporters through the national capital after he left office and for numerous actions during the presidential election campaign he lost last fall.

Federal police and prosecutors are investigating whether three sets of jewelry brought into the country from Saudi Arabia were public gifts that Bolsonaro improperly tried to prevent from being incorporated into the presidency’s public collection or were private gifts that Bolsonaro tried sneak into Brazil without paying taxes.

Brazil requires its citizens arriving by plane from abroad to declare goods worth more than $1,000 and, for any amount above that exemption, pay a tax equal to 50% of their value. The three sets of jewelry would have been exempt from tax had they been a gift from the state of Saudi Arabia to the nation of Brazil, but would not have been Bolsonaro’s to keep.

After Bolsonaro left the Federal Police headquarters in Brazil’s capital Wednesday, it wasn’t know if he answered investigator’s questions or exercised his right to stay silent. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing connected to the gifts, and said he never attempted to hide anything.

A customs agent seized one of the sets, manufactured by Swiss brand Chopard and reportedly worth some $3 million, at Sao Paulo’s international airport in October 2021 when an adviser to the then minister for mines and energy brought it into the country.

Documents and video footage published by Brazilian news

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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

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Dispute Over Mysterious Saudi Jewelry Worth $3 Million Haunts Bolsonaro

(Bloomberg) — A dispute over $3 million worth of jewelry allegedly from Saudi Arabia is set to present another headache for former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro when he returns home from his US vacation.

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Brazil’s national comptroller on Tuesday started probing the case, which involves a cache of jewelry — including a diamond necklace, earrings and a watch made by the Swiss brand Chopard. Bolsonaro’s former Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque confirmed over the weekend that his delegation brought the items into the country — now run by leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — as a gift from the Saudi government to Bolsonaro and his wife, Michelle, without declaring them to customs agents.

The country’s federal police also launched an investigation at the request of the justice ministry.

The case came to public attention on March 3 when newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported that Brazilian customs officials seized jewelry found inside a suitcase carried by an aide to Albuquerque as they returned from an official trip to the Middle East last October. Brazilian law requires travelers to declare goods worth more than $1,000 for tax purposes, but Albuquerque’s team failed to do so.

Public outrage has been growing in Brazil as details of the case emerge. Brazilian officials aren’t allowed to keep most valuable gifts they receive, and have to place them in public collections maintained by the state. The investigation will seek to discover whether Bolsonaro or his associates were attempting to smuggle the jewelry into Brazil, and if they sought to shield the gift from entering the president’s official collection, which would make it government property, according to the justice ministry. Potential money laundering crimes will also be considered, according to Justice Minister Flavio Dino.

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