A Brazilian court ruled Wednesday that former President Jair Bolsonaro has five days to hand over expensive jewelry he received as a gift from Saudi Arabia, and ordered an inspection of all official gifts during his presidency.
The Federal Court of Accounts (TCU), which oversees the government’s treasury, also ordered the former far-right army captain to hand over two pistols he received as a gift from the United Arab Emirates in 2019 to the presidential palace collection.
Under Brazilian law, public officials can only keep “extremely personal and minimal monetary gifts,” court president Bruno Dantas said at a public hearing, giving Bolsonaro “five days to return all items related to this case.” … the legal owner, the presidential palace.”
The unanimous court ruling is the latest chapter in the drama that has dominated Brazil’s headlines since allegations emerged earlier this month that Bolsonaro tried to illegally import millions of dollars worth of jewelry he and his wife received from Saudi Arabia.
The episode has turned into a legal and political headache for the former president, who is currently in the United States and is expected to return to Brazil soon, hoping to steer the opposition towards his leftist successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro, who denies any wrongdoing, had offered through lawyers to surrender the jewelry to authorities pending the outcome of the investigation.
The scandal erupted when the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported that customs officials had caught Bolsonaro’s assistant minister of mines and energy trying to enter Brazil with a backpack containing diamond jewelry from Swiss luxury brand Chopard after an official visit to Saudi Arabia in October 2021.
Bolsonaro was later found to have kept a second set of jewelry, also from Chopard, that slipped into Brazil unnoticed after the same trip.
Travelers entering Brazil with goods worth more than $1,000 must declare them and pay significant import taxes.
The media report that the cost of jewelry for the first collection is 3.2 million dollars, and for the second – at least 75 thousand dollars.
They could also enter Brazil tax-free as an official gift from the nation. But then they would belong to the presidential palace collection, not the first family.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)