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Brazil’s Bolsonaro accused by ex-aide’s lawyer of ordering sale of jewellery given as official reward

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BRASILIA, Brazil — Then Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro ordered an aide to promote undeclared luxurious jewellery obtained as a present and funnel the cash to him, a lawyer for the aide charged Friday.

Cezar Bittencourt, who represents Bolsonaro’s former right-hand man, Lt. Col. Mauro Cid, mentioned his consumer had recounted receiving these orders from Bolsonaro shortly earlier than the president left workplace on the finish of final 12 months.

The declare was initially reported in an interview printed Friday by the Brazilian journal Veja, and Bittencourt confirmed his feedback in a telephone name with The Related Press.

Bittencourt mentioned that in December 2022, Cid requested a couple of Rolex watch the president was given by authorities of Saudi Arabia in 2019. Bolsonaro replied that Cid ought to “take care of it,” which ultimately led to the aide promoting two watches within the U.S. and handing the cash to Bolsonaro, the lawyer mentioned.

Every week in the past, Brazil’s Federal Police charged that Bolsonaro obtained money from the practically $70,000 sale of the 2 watches. They have been a part of a complete of three units of jewellery given to the then president by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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Officers from Bolsonaro’s workplace introduced the jewellery into Brazil with out declaring them, which sparked suspicions of cash laundering and unlawful private possession of presidency objects. That investigation grew to become public in March.

Brazil requires residents arriving by aircraft from overseas to declare items price greater than $1,000 and pay a tax of fifty% of the worth above that threshold. The jewellery could be exempt from tax if it was an official reward to Brazil, however wouldn’t have been Bolsonaro’s to maintain.

Bolsonaro and his legal professionals contend the units of jewellery have been private presents and due to this fact may be offered as he needs. Investigators say he didn’t register the jewellery in his private assortment till simply earlier than he left workplace.

When the matter grew to become public in March, Bolsonaro initially mentioned he didn’t know concerning the presents, however his camp has given numerous variations. On Friday, Bolsonaro mentioned in a video to the Brazilian newspaper Estadao that Cid had autonomy on how you can deal with the jewellery and didn’t obtain orders.

Bittencourt’s report on Cid’s declare is the primary time the previous aide has spoken publicly concerning the jewellery. Cid was arrested in Could on accusations of falsifying COVID-19 vaccine playing cards for members of his circle of relatives and for Bolsonaro and his household.

In July, Cid was known as to testify to a particular congressional committee that’s investigating the Jan. 8 rampage by Bolsonaro’s supporters within the capital, Brasilia. He remained silent all through all the session.

On Friday, seven high-ranking army cops have been arrested in reference to the Jan. 8 assaults.

A couple of hours later, Supreme Court docket justice Alexandre de Moraes approved the lifting of financial institution secrecy for Bolsonaro and Cid’s accounts within the U.S.

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