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Former Brazilian President Bolsonaro is accused in the Saudi jewelry case

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly been charged with embezzlement over diamond jewelry he received from Saudi Arabia.

During his tenure, the Saudi government gave Bolsonaro and his wife jewelry worth $3.2 million (2.96 million euros), including a diamond necklace, a ring, luxury watches and earrings.

Customs officials seized some of the jewels at Sao Paulo’s international airport in 2021 when they were found in the backpack of a government aide returning from Riyadh.

Supreme Court Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes ordered an investigation and declared that some of the items had been sold and that the sale had not been declared.

On Thursday, security sources told the Associated Press and Reuters that Brazil’s federal police had charged Bolsonaro with money laundering and criminal association in connection with the jewelry.

However, the Supreme Court has not yet received the police report to proceed further.

How did the accused react?

Flavio Bolsonaro, the former president’s eldest son and a sitting senator, said on social media that the news was an example of the “blatant and shameless” persecution against his father.

In addition to Bolsonaro, the police also charged ten other people, according to reports. Two of them were Bolsonaro’s lawyers, Frederick Wassef and Fabio Wajngarten.

“I am going through all of this solely for practicing law in defense of Jair Bolsonaro,” Wassef said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Wajngarten said police had found no evidence implicating him.

“The Federal Police know that I did nothing related to what they are investigating, but they still want to punish me because I have provided an unwavering and permanent defense of former President Bolsonaro,” he said on social media.

Thursday’s indictment was Bolsonaro’s second since leaving office, after he was charged in May for allegedly falsifying his COVID-19 vaccination records.

This article first appeared in DW.