*** ----> Brazil’s Bolsonaro benefited from illegal sale of luxury gifts: police | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Brazil’s Bolsonaro benefited from illegal sale of luxury gifts: police

AFP | Brasilia

The Daily Tribune - www.newsofbahrain.com

Brazil’s far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro benefited from an illegal scheme to sell $1.2 million in jewelry and other luxury items given to his government as gifts, a police probe revealed Monday.

Last week, Brazil’s Federal Police recommended charging Bolsonaro with money laundering and other crimes over undeclared jewelry gifted between 2019 and 2022.

Bolsonaro, who claims he is the target of judicial persecution under the government of his leftist successor Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, denies any wrongdoing.

The police report made public Monday said investigators had found that government officials had “acted to divert” several high-value gifts to Bolsonaro from foreign governments, with a total value of $1.22 million.

The officials sought to sell the items abroad “with the aim of… the illicit enrichment of the then-president,” said the report submitted to the Supreme Federal Court (STF.) Cash raised from such sales was paid to Bolsonaro “without using the formal banking system,” it added.

STF judge Alexandre de Moraes has given prosecutors 15 days to decide whether to formally charge Bolsonaro.

The case stems from an undeclared set of diamond jewelry reportedly seized by customs inspectors in October 2021.

The jewels were said to have been inside a satchel from Bolsonaro’s Mining and Energy Ministry entourage upon returning from a trip to the Middle East.

The police report of nearly 500 pages provides detailed descriptions of the jewels in question, including Rolex watches and diamond pieces from luxury brand Chopard.

After news of the case first broke in the press, Bolsonaro’s team recovered and returned some of the pieces, the report said.

Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Paulo Cunha, said on X Monday that heads of state “have no direct or indirect influence” on what happens to official gifts.