Bolsonaro jewellery scandal:: Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has declared that he’d be returning to Brazil in March. But, another challenge awaits for him at home.
Flávio Dino, Justice Minister for Brazilian President Lula da Silva, declared on Friday that he would be filing a request for an investigation to the federal police against Jair Bolsonaro.
Brazil orders police probe into Bolsonaro jewellery scandal
Dino accused Bolsonaro of smuggling, embezzlement, and money laundering. But, what is the matter?
So, in 2021, the Bolsonaro administration sold a Petrobras refinery to a Saudi organization for an amount of $1.8 Billion. Soon after the transaction, the Saudi government presented €3 Million worth of diamond jewellery to the Brazilian First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro. Then, President Bolsonaro attempted to smuggle the jewellery into Brazil.
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In October of 2021, an aide to Bolsonaro’s Mines and Energy Minister, Admiral Bento Albuquerque, was stopped by customs officials at Guarulhos International Airport for attempting to illegally bring jewellery into Brazil. The items were taken as they exceeded the duty-free limit of US$1000.
Albequerque and Bolsonaro both attempted to use their political sway to liberate the jewels without having to pay the 50% customs duty as well as the 25% penalty for attempting to smuggle them into Brazil.
It is not illegal for the President or 1st Lady to accept presents from foreign governments. Legally, when passengers bring goods worth over a thousand dollars into Brazil, they must declare them and pay the applicable taxes. Anything above this amount must be declared publicly.
But if such items are declared as an official gift to the state, they would be considered to belong to the state and not the former president’s spouse after their term ends.
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Bolsonaro, currently in the United States, stated to CNN Brasil that he was being accused of a gift he had not requested and had not received. He also said that there was no illegal activity on his part. He also added that he was unaware of the cost of the items and they were meant to be put into the President’s collection.
But, the fact that they attempted to conceal the jewellery indicates that they did not want the public to know about the gift.
Bolsonaro is already under scrutiny for Capitol-Hill-like protests and this will make things worse for him.
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