Defense of the ex-president rejects allegations: Bolsonaro employees suspected of embezzling foreign state gifts

Defense of the ex-president rejects allegations: Bolsonaro employees suspected of embezzling foreign state gifts

The Brazilian federal police suspect employees of former President Jair Bolsonaro of having resold gifts from abroad for “illicit enrichment” of Bolsonaro.

The accumulated evidence showed that during Bolsonaro’s presidency there was a network that siphoned off large assets donated to him, according to a chief judge’s decision published on Friday (local time). Previously, there had been searches of former employees of the right-wing ex-head of state.

The investigators reported goods that were transported in a suitcase on the presidential plane at the end of last year. At that time, two days before his left-wing successor Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in, Bolsonaro left for the US state of Florida. The state gifts in the suitcase included two sculptures – gifts from the government of Bahrain – but also men’s jewelery from Saudi Arabia.

One of the suspects, Bolsonaro confidante Mauro Cid, has been in prison since May. Cid was arrested in connection with another case involving the alleged falsification of corona vaccination certificates. According to investigators, Cid mentioned in a voice message “$25,000 in cash” that was intended for the ex-president after the sale of certain goods.

The case about gifts from abroad by Bolsonaro came up in March

The former president’s lawyers have denied the allegations. They said in a statement published on news site G1 that Bolsonaro “never” appropriated or embezzled public property.

The case of gifts from abroad to Bolsonaro came up in March. At the time, the newspaper Estado de S. Paulo reported that high-ranking officials had tried to illegally smuggle in jewelry donated by Saudi Arabia. The jewelry in question was seized by customs in October 2021, including diamonds said to have been intended for then First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro. When questioned about the incident, Bolsonaro denied any criminal activity.

According to the Brazilian Court of Accounts, the head of state may only keep gifts “of a very personal nature or of little monetary value” at the end of his term of office.

Bolsonaro’s presidency was marked by scandals, including mismanagement in the corona pandemic. Because of his unproven allegations of massive fraud in the country’s electoral system, the right-wing ex-head of state has now been barred from all political offices for eight years. (AFP)


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