Au Brésil, l’embarrassante affaire des bijoux de Jair Bolsonaro

The former president is accused of having attempted to enter the country in secret a CHOPARD set worth 3 million euros, gift from the Saudi government.

by Bruno Meyerfeld (Rio de Janeiro, correspondent)

The leather case is lined with a dark velvet. Inside are deposited sparkling jewelry: a pair of earrings, a ring, a watch and a necklace decorated with dozens of pendants inlaid with diamonds. The whole, from the Swiss jeweler Chopard, is estimated at nearly 3 million euros. Its rather unexpected recipient turns out to be Jair Bolsonaro.

It has been two weeks since the “diamond affair” hit the headlines in Brazil. The former president is accused by the press of having tried to illegally report this set of jewelry in the country, a gift from the Saudi government. She embarrasses a Jair Bolsonaro back to the wall at the highest point, still in Florida and threatened in justice.

It all started in October 2021. So president, Jair Bolsonaro hurryded to Riyadh his Minister of Mines and Energy, the Admiral of the Navy Bento Albuquerque, attend his place at the top of the “Green Middle East”, Promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman, known as “MBS”, in order to promote the initiatives of Saudi Arabia in terms of climate change.

On the return, on October 26, the customs officers of Guarulhos International Airport, in Sao Paulo, make a surprising discovery: hidden at the bottom of the backpack of a soldier, advisor to the Minister Albuquerque, they find a setting Chopard jewelry. The whole thing has a value much more than $ 1,000 and should have been declared beforehand. It is immediately seized by the tax administration.

“an image of a man of the people, seriously scorned”

The whole is actually a very generous gift offered by the Saudi power to Jair Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle. But the far -right president – beaten since during the 2022 presidential election by Lula – obviously wanted to revers these jewelry to the public treasury or pay significant customs duties (or 50 % of the value of the product). He would therefore have ordered his minister to discreetly pass “his” diamonds in Brazil.

The case does not stop there. For more than a year, Bolsonaro did everything to put their hands on jewelry. On several occasions, trusted men are sent to negotiate with the customs of the airport. On December 29, 2022, three days before the end of the mandate, a navy sergeant descends from an army plane in Guarulhos and threatens customs officials: “Nothing can leave anything old You have to take everything and take away! “In vain.

Revealed in early March by the Estadao newspaper, the scandal never ceases to bounce back. The press has uncovered the existence of a second set of luxury objects, of an estimated value at 70,000 euros, that Jair Bolsonaro would have managed to pass in Brazil this time. Since then, the federal police, the Court of Auditors and the Prosecutor’s Office have seized the case. Several parliamentarians are favorable to the opening of a commission of inquiry.

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