The Auditing Congress of the Brazilian Union ordered this Thursday that former President Jair Bolsonaro hand over within five days a set of jewelry given to him by the government of Saudi Arabia in 2021.
The Brazilian state watchdog also forced the former Brazilian president to return a shotgun and a pistol he received in 2019 from United Arab Emirates authorities.
Bolsonaro has been in the United States since Dec. 30, two days before the end of his term (2019-2022), and recently said he plans to return to Brazil before the end of March.
According to the decision of the Federal Accounting Office (TCU), all these gifts must be sent to the current General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, which must keep them in custody until the investigations are completed.
The court also decided to conduct an audit of all gifts received by Bolsonaro during his four years as president of Brazil (2019-2022).
The former president’s defense, which considers these gifts to be of a “very personal” nature and therefore may be part of his private collection, had already asked the court to keep them pending the analysis of the case.
But the court does not have the authority to take care of the gifts, so it ordered that they be handed over to the current Government.
The Saudi Arabian jewelry scandal came to light after a report in the newspaper “O Estado de São Paulo” revealed that the Bolsonaro government tried to smuggle into the country three million euros worth of jewelry that the Saudi authorities had given to the then first lady Michelle Bolsonaro, in October 2021.
Tax authorities seized them at Guarulhos International Airport, in Sao Paulo, after finding them in the backpack of an adviser to Bolsonaro’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, and noting that they had not been properly declared.
Bolsonaro has tried several times, through envoys, to release gifts from luxury Swiss brand Chopard before his term ends on January 1, 2023, but has failed.
Days later, the Brazilian press reported that a second package of jewelry, consisting of a watch, pen and cufflinks, also from Chopard, managed to pass customs checks and reach Bolsonaro.
This second package of jewels is what Bolsonaro will now have to deliver to the current government, headed by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.