The Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Federal Court of Auditors (MPTCU) asked Minister Augusto Nardes, of TCU, to reconsider his own decision and determine the obligation of former President of the Republic Jair Bolsonaro to return to the Union, within five days, part of the jewelry that was supposedly sent to him as a gift by representatives of the Saudi Arabian government.
The appeal that the deputy attorney general of the MPTCU, Lucas Furtado, sent today (10) to the minister is a reaction to the decision of Nardes, who, yesterday (9), appointed Bolsonaro as the “loyal depositary” of the millionaire jewels until the TCU concludes the analysis of evidence of irregularities and give the final word on the proper destination for the jewels.
In the decision, made public on Thursday night, Nardes determines that Bolsonaro will not be able to use, dispose or sell any of the jewels, and must preserve them intact. For the minister, although many questions remain unanswered, there are already “signs of irregularities related to the attempt to enter the country of jewelry and watches worth a total of 3 million euros” (about R$ 16.5 million at the exchange rate). current).
The value cited by Minister Augusto Nardes refers only to the evaluation of the set of women’s jewelry (a necklace, a ring, a watch and a pair of diamond earrings) that Federal Revenue agents seized in October 2021, when inspecting the luggage of a then advisor to the Ministry of Mines and Energy who was part of the entourage that accompanied former Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque on an official trip to Saudi Arabia.
There is also a second kit, this one containing men’s jewelry (a wristwatch; a pair of cufflinks; a pen; a ring and a kind of rosary – a masbaha), whose value is still uncertain. Unlike the women’s set, the men’s jewelry was not identified when former minister Bento Albuquerque and his advisors arrived in the country, having entered the country irregularly, since they were not declared.
Since last Tuesday (7), the Brazil Agency has been questioning the Planalto Palace, the Ministry of Mines and Energy and people close to former president Jair Bolsonaro about the current whereabouts of men’s jewelry, but so far, he has not obtained accurate, official information. according to Brazil Agency reporteddocuments indicate that, on November 29, 2022, that is, more than a year after the Albuquerque entourage brought the jewels to the country, a representative of the ministry finally delivered the men’s kit to the Adjunct Cabinet of Historical Documentation, body of the Presidency of the Republic responsible for, among other things, analyzing the gifts received by Brazilian authorities and saying whether they are objects for personal use or intended for the Brazilian State due to their historical, cultural and financial value.
Today (10), the report asked former minister Bento Albuquerque, through his advisory, why he had not delivered or warned customs agents about the existence of the second jewelry kit when he saw his advisor, the former head of the representation office of the portfolio in Rio de Janeiro, Marcos André Soeiro, to be stopped for not having declared the women’s items he was carrying in his luggage. Albuquerque limited himself to forwarding a previously published note in which he states that “the Brazilian government took the appropriate and customary measures, as always occurred, in relation to the institutional gifts offered to the Brazilian representation that participated in diplomatic events in Saudi Arabia”.
In the note, the minister also assures that, “due to the historical, cultural and artistic values of the items, the MME forwarded a request for the collection received to have its proper legal destination”, without specifying to whom the request was forwarded.
This Thursday (8), former president Jair Bolsonaro told CNN Brasil that men’s jewelry was included among the objects destined for his private collection – without making it clear whether, with that, he took them with him when he left the Presidency. of the Republic. “There was no illegality. I followed the law, as I always did,” Bolsonaro said.
According to customs rules, as the Brazilian entourage did not declare the jewels upon arriving in the country, if Bolsonaro wants to claim them for personal use, he will have to pay half the value of them, plus a fine of 50%. Otherwise, they will be incorporated into public assets or auctioned – in which case at least 40% of the amount collected will be allocated to the National Treasury and social security policies.
In the appeal he presented to Minister Augusto Nardes, MPTCU’s deputy attorney general, Lucas Furtado, claims that the jewelry episode and its repercussions are reminiscent of the scripts of films by American film director Quentin Tarantino. “Each new day I wake up and I am faced with the amazing developments of this story of the alleged Arab gifts received by the Bolsonaro couple, which proves to be increasingly scabrous and with successive chapters that become more complex and with the insertion of new elements and suspicions, I have the impression that I am immersed in a Quentin Tarantino film”, mentions the sub-prosecutor when referring to a report by the Metrópoles portal.
According to the portal, already in 2019, Bolsonaro contravened a TCU rule and appropriated a rifle and a pistol that he won from representatives of the United Arab Emirates – information that Furtado asks the TCU to investigate in order to decide whether it is the case to ask Bolsonaro to deliver, in addition to jewelry, also weapons.