| 4 December 2023, Monday |

Brazil police raid Bolsonaro aides over sale of jewelry gifts

Brazilian authorities searched the homes of former President Jair Bolsonaro’s lawyer and the family of his imprisoned personal aide on Friday to investigate the suspected sale of jewelry and other gifts from Arab nations.

The warrant was issued by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes in response to police claims that Bolsonaro’s aides misappropriated government resources for personal gain.

According to a statement from the Federal Police, persons under investigation “are suspected of using the state structure to divert high-value assets delivered by foreign authorities to Brazilian representatives on official visits, through the sale of these items abroad.”

The decision by Moraes, seen by Reuters, said proceeds of the sales were delivered in cash to Bolsonaro via intermediaries.

Moraes authorized the police to search the homes or offices of lawyer Frederick Wassef and Mauro Cesar Cid, the father of Bolsonaro’s former aide-de-camp Lt Col Mauro Cid, to seize computers, tablets, cameras and data storage media.

Wassef did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. A representative for Mauro Cesar Cid could not be reached for comment.

The decision by Moraes cites messages obtained by the police in which Mauro Cid, Bolsonaro’s former aide, deals with the sale of statues, a palm tree and a gold-plated boat received as gifts during an official visit to Bahrain.

Cid has been in jail since May related to a separate investigation into the alleged fraudulent insertion of vaccination data into the records of the former president and his associates. His father was a contemporary of Bolsonaro’s in the army and served in the federal government during his presidency.

The raids follow an investigation into jewelry worth some $3 million given by the Saudi Arabian government as a presidential gift to Bolsonaro, which he failed to declare.

Bolsonaro denies he committed any wrongdoing. The jewelry was returned this year to the state, as ordered by the federal audit court.

The police investigation has established that Bolsonaro aides tried to recover the Saudi jewelry given to then-first lady Michelle Bolsonaro after it was seized in October 2021 in Sao Paulo by customs officials, who found the gems in an aide’s backpack when he entered Brazil from Riyadh.

  • Reuters