Brazil’s Bolsonaro hands over undeclared jewelry to the authorities

A representative of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro handed over a diamond jewelry set to a state-owned bank on Friday, ordered by government watchdogs and amid an investigation into whether the president was involved in selling the jewelry to Sa…

ByCARLA BRIDI Associated Press

BRAZIL, Brazil — A representative of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro handed over to a state-owned bank on Friday the set of diamond jewelry he received during his presidency, amid an investigation into the gifts by the government’s audit authority.

Federal police and prosecutors are investigating whether the goods brought into the country from Saudi Arabia were public gifts that Bolsonaro improperly tried to prevent from entering the presidency’s public collection, or private gifts that Bolsonaro tried to sneak into Brazil without paying taxes.

The Senate Transparency Committee is also investigating whether the sale of a refinery by the Brazilian state-controlled oil giant was linked to the jewelry.

Caixa Economica Federal, the state-owned bank, received the box of gems on Friday at one of its branches in the Brazilian capital, the bank’s press office told The Associated Press. According to the press office of the Federal Police, Bolsonaro’s firearms were also handed over by his representative, who received them as a gift from the authorities of the United Arab Emirates.

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A federal watchdog on Wednesday gave Bolsonaro five days to hand over the gems and weapons he received as president.

Brazilian media began reporting on the jewelry cache earlier this month, along with another cache that was previously seized at Sao Paulo International Airport. The confiscated set of earrings, necklace, ring and watch from the Swiss brand Chopard is estimated to be worth several million dollars. None of the stocks were declared to the tax authorities.

Documents and video footage published by local media appear to show that Bolsonaro’s supposed emissaries have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to retrieve the seized jewels, until just days before his presidency ended.

Bolsonaro, who denies any wrongdoing with the gifts, has been in the United States since the end of December, just days before the end of his presidential term.

The gifts add to the legal threat surrounding the right-wing populist politician. He is also under investigation for his involvement in his supporters’ rampage through the nation’s capital after he left office, as well as several actions during his lost presidential campaign last fall.

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