Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, at the CPAC American conservative convention, on March 4, in Maryland (USA). EVELYN HOCKSTEIN (REUTERS)
The defense of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro delivered this Friday to the State several gifts that he received from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and that he tried to keep in a personal capacity.
One of his lawyers deposited in a branch of a public bank in Brasilia a set of men's jewelry from the Swiss diamond brand Chopard valued at almost $100,000: a watch, a pen, a ring, a pair of cufflinks, and an Islamic rosary. .
Collaborators of the former president also returned a second gift consisting of a rifle and a pistol.
The men's jewelry, which until now was in the possession of Bolsonaro, arrived in Brazil through a delegation from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, which represented the Brazilian Government at an event in Saudi Arabia in October 2021. Upon arrival in Brazil, the jewels were not declared or the corresponding taxes were paid, so they entered illegally.
In addition to this men's lot, there is another much more valuable one, for women, a box with an ostentatious diamond necklace, earrings, a watch and a ring, valued at three million euros.
These jewels are being held at customs at the São Paulo international airport.
A ministry adviser tried to enter Brazil with the jewels hidden in his backpack, but was prevented by customs agents.
Images from security cameras show how the minister pressured officials to allow the valuable set of diamonds to enter Brazil because it was "for the first lady."
The weapons were received by the previous president in 2019 during a trip to the United Arab Emirates.
Unlike the Chopard jewels, the gift of the rifle and pistol was communicated to the Treasury and the Army so that they could be registered.
The returns are given after last week the Court of Accounts gave a period of five days to deliver the gifts to the State.
For the court, only gifts of small value and of a "very personal" nature, such as t-shirts or caps, can remain in the hands of the presidents.
The most valuable gifts, such as jewelry, must be part of the patrimony of the Presidency.
The scandal of the jewels, revealed by the
newspaper, adds to the dozens of pending cases that Bolsonaro has before the Justice, the most recent related to the coup attempt that his followers staged in Brasilia on January 8.
The former president is being investigated for encouraging the assault.
Bolsonaro has been in the US since the end of December, when he left Brazil to avoid handing over the baton to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
It was going to be just a few days off, but almost three months have passed.
His wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, has already returned to Brazil, and has already starred in the occasional act as the new leader of the women's area of the Liberal Party, that of her husband, from where she could gain political projection in the coming years.
But Bolsonaro, for now, is still in Florida.
The previous president has been postponing his return date over and over again, although this Friday, both he and his party have announced that he will return on the 30th and that the plane tickets have already been purchased.
In principle, Bolsonaro will land in Brasilia that day first thing in the morning.
The announcement already anticipates the intention of turning the arrival into a mass bath with his followers.
If it is finally confirmed, the long-awaited return will take place in the absence of Lula, who is planning an official trip to China on those days.
In statements to the Record television network, Bolsonaro stated that from now on he wants to tour Brazil doing politics: "We have to keep up that flag of conservatism that we have raised in the last four years," he said.
To do this, he will have to dodge the numerous investigations that he has open.
For the first time in three decades he lacks parliamentary immunity.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS America
and receive all the latest news in the region.