Brazilian Court Orders Jair Bolsonaro To Return Saudi Jewels Within 5 Days

Similar to the Toshakhana scam in Pakistan, there has been a scam in Brazil too. Brazil’s ex-president Bolsonaro has kept the expensive gifts he received from abroad. A Brazilian court recently ruled that ex-president Jair Bolsonaro handed over the pricey jewelry within a period of 5 days which he received as a gift from Saudi Arabia.

The Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) which oversees the government coffers ordered the far-right ex-army captain to hand over to the presidential palace collection two guns he received as presents from the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

Under Brazilian law, public officials can only keep gifts that are “both highly personal and of minimal monetary value,” said the court’s president, Bruno Dantas. While in a public hearing, giving Bolsonaro “5 days to return all items involved in this case to the rightful owner, the presidential palace.”

The unanimous ruling from the court is the latest chapter in the drama that has dominated headlines in Brazil since allegations emerged earlier this month that Bolsonaro tried to illegally import millions of dollars worth of jewelry that he and his wife received as gifts from Saudi Arabia.
Currently, the episode has turned into a legal and political headache for the ex-president, who is currently in the United States and expected to return soon to Brazil, hoping to lead the opposition to his leftist successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro denies wrongdoing that had proposed through his lawyers that he hand the jewels over to authorities pending the outcome of the investigations.

The customs officers intercepted an aide to Bolsonaro’s then-mines and energy minister trying to enter Brazil with a backpack containing diamond jewelry from Swiss luxury firm Chopard after an official trip to Saudi Arabia in October 2021.

It later emerged that Bolsonaro have kept a second set of jewels, also from Chopard, that entered Brazil undetected after the same trip.
Travelers entering Brazil with goods worth more than $1,000 are required to declare them and pay hefty import taxes.

According to the media, the value of the jewels at $3.2 million for the first set, and at least $75,000 for the second.
They could also have entered Brazil tax-free as official gifts to the nation. But then they would have belonged to the presidential palace collection, not the first family.

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About the Author: Meera Verma