Bolsonaro claims he did nothing wrong regarding the case of the First Lady’s jewels
Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he was being falsely accused in the case of the jewels he allegedly tried to smuggle into the South American country last year after an official trip to Saudi Arabia. They are accusing me of a gift that I did not ask for, nor did I receive. There is no illegality on my part, Bolsonaro insisted.
The Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported on Friday that in October 2021, a member of Bolsonaro’s entourage tried to smuggle into Brazil the jewels that had been given as a gift to First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro. The necklace, ring, watch, and a pair of earrings were found at Guarulhos airport, in the backpack of an advisor to then-Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, who was returning from an official trip to the Middle East. Since the pieces had not been declared, they were seized by Customs in whose possession they remain to this day.
I am being accused of a gift that I did not ask for, nor did I receive. There is no illegality on my part, said Bolsonaro, who insisted he did not know the value of the items and that their destination would be the presidency’s collection.
As per Brazilian law travelers entering the country with goods over US$ 1,000 must declare them and pay taxes, which could have been avoided by stating that the items were a gift to the President and they should be then treated as government property.
Justice Minister Flávio Dino said on Friday that he will submit a request for an investigation to the Federal Police next Monday. Facts related to the jewelry, which may configure crimes of smuggling, embezzlement, and money laundering, among other possible crimes, will be brought to the official knowledge of the police, Dino wrote on Twitter.