Bolsonaro’s minister tried to illegally smuggle valuable jewelry into Brazil as a gift from Saudi Arabia | international

Bolsonaro’s minister tried to illegally smuggle valuable jewelry into Brazil as a gift from Saudi Arabia |  international
Jair Bolsonaro, the former President of Brazil, during the Turning Point USA event on Friday, February 3, 2023 in Florida (USA).Eva Marie Ozcategui (Bloomberg)

On December 29, three days before the end of his presidential term, the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, submitted a final request to the Customs Service to take back some precious jewels that one of his ministers had brought as a gift from the Saudi authorities to the then First Lady. An official trip to the Arab country in October 2021. The gift consists of a diamond necklace, earrings and a watch worth three million euros that were seized at Sao Paulo International Airport because the minister tried to bring them into Brazil without declaring or paying the corresponding taxes, according to the Exclusively revealed Newspaper stadium.

The former president, who has been in the United States for more than two months, has not said anything about this for the time being. This weekend he plans to take part in the grand convention of the American conservatives with Donald Trump. Instead, the former first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, responded to the information immediately: “You mean I had all that and didn’t even know? Oh my God! I’m laughing at the unprofessionalism of this malicious journalism.”

The jewelry, which is from Chopard and which was accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, arrived in Brazil on a regular flight from the Middle East in the backpack of a soldier of the entourage of the Minister of Energy, Bento Albuquerque, who had just taken part in a meeting on the environment in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). The aide was in line for those who leave without announcing anything when he was pulled over, according to the newspaper’s account, for a search of his bags. Once the jewels were discovered, the uniformed man called his superior, the Minister and General of Albuquerque.

Cameras at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo recorded how the minister explained that the case contained a gift from the Saudi authorities to President Bolsonaro’s wife. He said he didn’t know exactly what the fancy bag contained. The customs official explained that the problem is that any commodity that exceeds $1,000 must be released at customs. The import tax is 50% of the value of the thing and in this case a 25% fine is added. Wealth given the value of the Saudi gift.

If Bolsonaro had considered the diamond necklace a gift from the state, it could have entered the country without problem, but it would still have been public property. All his efforts indicate that he considers jewelry a personal gift. The then president was not on that trip to Riyadh, but in those days he visited the Saudi ambassador in Brasilia with one of his sons on commitment, which was not on his agenda.

Bolsonaro wanted the jewelry to be in his possession when Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office on January 1. That is why, at the gates of the end of the year, he sent an emissary in an Air Force plane to São Paulo Airport. according to stadiumThe envoy urged the customs official to hand them over as his chief’s mandate was coming to an end: “There can be nothing from the old (government) to the next, you have to take everything out and put it away.” The day after that attempt, Bolsonaro put the floor in the middle. He traveled to Florida to avoid participating in the official handover ceremony.

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Over the past year, it has also moved by land, sea and air without success. He made three efforts in which he mobilized members of his government, three ministries (economy, mines and energy, and foreign affairs), in addition to the army. All failed. Diamond jewelry was about to be put up for auction. Now they are guarded as evidence of an alleged crime.

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