Bolsonaro and his wife, investigated for receiving diamonds from the Saudi regime

Jair Bolsonaro Saudi Arabia

The Federal Police and the Brazilian Treasury are investigating a luxurious gift that former President Jair Bolsonaro and his wife, Michelle. They would have received from the Saudi regime a set of diamonds seized by customs for not having been correctly declared. It is a set of jewels made up of a Chopard brand necklace, earrings, ring and watch, as well as a miniature ornamental horse, with an estimated value of three million euros.

According to the newspaper ‘O Estado de São Paulo’, which broke the story, public officials under Bolsonaro’s orders tried to smuggle the jewelry into the country and the gifts were seized by customs at the São Paulo international airport, where they are in this moment. Between October 2021 and December 29, 2022, two days before the end of the Bolsonaro government, there were eight attempts to recover the jewels.

The seizure of the diamonds occurred on October 26, 2021, during a routine control of the passengers of flight 773 that landed in São Paulo, coming from Saudi Arabia and were identified by the x-ray machine in Marcos André Soeiro’s luggage, military and advisor to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque. Both were returning from an official trip. The former minister admitted that he brought gifts to the president, but that it was a closed package and he did not know what was inside.

This Wednesday, the Globo network broadcast a video showing the latest attempt to recover the jewelry at customs. Marine Sergeant Jairo Moreira da Silva traveled on an official flight at the request of the then-president to search for the jewels. The footage shows how Moreira pressured the prosecutor with letters and phone calls from authorities, including Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, Bolsonaro’s right-hand man; and the head of the treasury, Julio Cesar Vieira Gomes. The prosecutor refuses to take calls from his superior and to deliver the jewels to the president’s emissary.

Bolsonaro denies it

Bolsonaro and his wife deny having any relationship with the jewels, but the documents and images of the diamonds displayed daily in the press are complicating the situation of the former president, who has lived in self-exile in Florida since December 30 of last year.

The evidence shows that the operation to recover the jewels involved three ministries (Mines and Energy, Economy and the Foreign Ministry), in addition to the Army. Documents from the Transparency public service show that the request was from Bolsonaro himself.

“I am being accused of a gift that I neither asked for nor received. There is no illegality on my part. I have never practiced any illegality. Look at my corporate personal card. I never withdrew or paid any penny with that card,” Bolsonaro said in an interview with CNN. Michele, for her part, mocked her on the networks for being considered the owner of a fortune that she did not know.

“I am being accused of a gift that I neither asked for nor received. There is no illegality on my part. I have never practiced any illegality”

Jair Bolsonaro

Former President of Brazil

The complaints, however, have been complicating the couple’s life. Bolsonaro must once again postpone his return from the United States to Brazil, where he was preparing to return as opposition leader, according to his son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro.

Also Michele, who seeks to launch herself into politics supported by the Liberal Party (PL), the same as her husband, must delay that plan, which was scheduled for this Women’s Day. On Tuesday, Flavio announced on social networks that her father would return to Brazil on March 15, but he deleted the message minutes later.

Under various investigation processes and before a case full of evidence, Bolsonaro and his family are evaluating the next steps and the legal risks, including the possibility of going to prison.