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In 2023, federal police investigated Bolsonaro and several military officials on suspicion of smuggling diamond jewellery into Brazil. | Source: Brazil's Federal Revenue Department via AP/Alex Brandon
In 2023, federal police investigated Bolsonaro and several military officials on suspicion of smuggling diamond jewellery into Brazil. | Source: Brazil's Federal Revenue Department via AP/Alex Brandon

Diamond jewellery headache for Brazil’s former president

Former president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has been indicted for money laundering and criminal association in connection with undeclared diamond jewellery.

In 2023, federal police investigated Bolsonaro and several military officials on suspicion of smuggling diamond jewellery into Brazil.

The items in question, some of which were made by Chopard, included a diamond necklace, ring, watch, and earrings. These were given to Bolsonaro and former first lady Michelle Bolsonaro by the Saudi Arabian government.

The diamond jewellery is estimated to be worth $USD3.2 million ($AUD4.75 million).

“The indictment dramatically raises the stakes in a series of investigations into the divisive ex-leader applauded by his opponents but denounced as political persecution by his supporters,” writes Gabriela Sa Pessoa of the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Bolsonaro and his lawyers have denied any wrongdoing related to the case, as well as the slew of investigations facing the former president.”

Customs officials seized the items in October 2021 when they were found in the luggage of a government aide returning from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Brazil requires its citizens arriving by plane from abroad to declare goods worth more than $USD1,000 and pay a tax equal to 50 per cent of their value on any amount above that exemption.

The items would have been exempt from tax had they been a gift from Saudi Arabia to the people of Brazil; however, it’s alleged Bolsonaro intended to keep the jewellery.

Federal police indicted Bolsonaro on Thursday; however, Brazil's Supreme Court has yet to receive the police report. Prosecutor General Paulo Gonet Branco will analyse the document and decide whether to file charges and force Mr Bolsonaro to stand trial.

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