Jair Bolsonaro returns to Brazil under the magnifying glass of justice

Jair Bolsonaro returns to Brazil under the magnifying glass of justice

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Former President Jair Bolsonaro returned to Brazil this Thursday, after spending three months in the United States. His formation, the Liberal Party, said that he will lead the opposition to Lula. The far-right politician is entangled in various cases of corruption, tax fraud and others linked to the assault on the capitol.

With the RFI correspondent in Rio de Janeiro, Sarah Cozzolino.

Jair Bolsonaro landed in Brasilia this Thursday March 30, where he was received by hundreds of followers. PL officials affirmed that he will be the one to lead the right-wing opposition from now on.

The former president is being investigated for five different cases. Four of them concern crimes allegedly committed during his tenure.

They accuse him of interfering with the police to protect relatives suspected of corruption. They are also investigating him for spreading false information about the electronic voting system and Covid-19.

The fifth investigation is related to the assault on the three powers by their followers on January 8 in Brasilia.

Jair Bolsonaro no longer has presidential immunity, so these cases can be taken up by courts of first instance, with processes that are usually shorter.

The former president also faces 16 investigations by the Superior Electoral Tribunal, for having frequently attacked electronic voting.

But the biggest case is the scandal that the Brazilian press has dubbed “the Saudi jewels” and for which Bolsonaro has been summoned by justice.

He is accused of having tried to enter Brazil jewelry that he received as a gift from Saudi Arabia during a visit in 2021. The diamonds valued at 3.2 million dollars were seized by customs, after finding them in the president’s backpack.

Bolsonaro affirmed that they were gifts destined for the Brazilian State and denied any attempt at tax fraud. According to the Ministry of Justice, even if he manages to prove that it was not tax fraud, he could be prosecuted for the crime of embezzlement, appropriation of public property.

His followers are divided

Brazilians do not have the same opinion about the possible return of the far-right ex-president to politics. Even his former constituencies are divided.

“Whether they declare him ineligible or not, he is still a leader, someone who brings people together. Whether they like it or not, it must be recognized that he takes people out into the street. It is important for his party and for the opposition that he return, ”says Mauricio, a boxing teacher in Rio de Janeiro.

His friend Jesús, who also voted for Bolsonaro in 2018, disagrees. “It was proven that there were scandals and that saddened many of us. All Brazilians wanted the representative of the nation to be a man of quality ”, he comments, disappointed by his management of the pandemic and the case of Saudi jewels.

“Equally, his voters mobilize in the streets, regardless of whether he is in Brazil or the United States,” says Camila.

Upon his return, Jair Bolsonaro can count on a good income. Adding his party salary and two pensions, he is expected to earn about $18,000 a month.

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