Brasilia – Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle remained silent yesterday before the Police, after being summoned to respond to an alleged diversion of jewelry received as official gifts.
Bolsonaro, who has faced a mountain of court cases since leaving office on December 31, appeared before federal police in Brasilia for the fifth time in five months.
Investigators suspect in this case that the couple and a group of collaborators participated in a scheme for the sale of official gifts received from foreign countries for the “illicit enrichment” of the former president (2019-2022).
The case could set up a crime of money laundering and embezzlement (appropriation of public property), subject to prison.
Jair and Michelle Bolsonaro “choose to adopt the prerogative of silence regarding the facts investigated,” read the notes presented to the police in defense of the marriage, according to documents published in the local press.
The lawyers considered that their clients were not summoned before the proper authority, so they decided not to testify “until they are before a competent natural judge.” “It is not about staying silent. I am fully available to speak in the competent sphere and I cannot submit to testify in an inappropriate place, ”said Michelle, in a note shared on her Instagram.
In total, seven suspects in Brasilia and one in São Paulo were called to testify yesterday. The group was called upon to answer the investigators’ questions at the same time, a strategy intended to expose possible contradictions between the various statements.
The authorities want to find out if there was indeed a diversion of several sets of jewelry given away by Saudi Arabia, some of which entered Brazil irregularly in 2019.
This includes a luxury watch that would have been sold and then repurchased in the United States by Frederick Wassef, Bolsonaro’s lawyer. “I am the victim of a cowardly disinformation campaign, I am absolutely calm, I have never committed any irregularity or anything illegal,” Wassef told reporters upon entering the federal police headquarters in Sao Paulo.
Two weeks ago, a judge of the Brazilian Supreme Court authorized the police to access the bank details of the ultra-rightist and his wife Michelle to investigate possible movements of money related to the case.
Bolsonaro denied committing any crime in his previous statement in April before investigators.
In the same way, Michelle ironized this weekend about her involvement in the case. “They talked so much about jewelry that we will soon have the launch: ‘Mijoyas’, for you,” said the former first lady in a mocking tone about the investigation, at a party event.
Bolsonaro has also been interrogated by the police for the coup acts on January 8 by his followers, for an alleged coup plan and for allegedly having falsified vaccination certificates.
The far-right was declared ineligible for eight years in June for abuse of political power and misuse of the media for having misinformed about the electoral system, three months before narrowly losing the election to leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.