(Brasilia) Jair Bolsonaro, who announced his return to Brazil on Thursday for the first time as ex-president after a three-month exile in the United States, is in the crosshairs of justice for several cases and faces penalties from prison.
The far-right ex-president is under five investigations at the Supreme Court in cases that could earn him prison sentences.
Four of them relate to alleged offenses committed during his mandate (2019-2022), and a fifth to suspicions of incitement of his supporters to take part in the riots of January 8 in Brasilia.
One of the investigations was opened in 2020, when his former Minister of Justice accused him of interfering with the Federal Police to protect relatives suspected of corruption.
He is also under investigation for disinformation about the electronic ballot box system or about COVID-19.
With presidential immunity, he could only be tried by the Supreme Court.
Now, cases can be handled by courts of first instance, where procedures are generally shorter.
In the “very unlikely” event that Jair Bolsonaro receives the maximum sentences for all of the crimes charged against him, he could spend almost 40 years behind bars, according to Carla Junqueira, lawyer and doctor of international law. University of Sao Paulo.
The former head of state himself recently acknowledged that this risk was real. “An arrest warrant can come without warning,” he told the Wall Street Journal in February.
In Brazil, a convicted person can only be imprisoned when all his appeals have been exhausted, unless he represents a danger to society.
Preventive detention is also possible if a judge considers that the suspect risks compromising the investigation, by destroying evidence, for example.
It is unlikely that Jair Bolsonaro will be condemned definitively by all the authorities (there are four in Brazil) in the short term. Judgment of all appeals can take years.
Jair Bolsonaro is also under 16 investigations at the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).
He could be sentenced to eight years of ineligibility, which would prevent him from running for president in 2026.
The ex-president is particularly implicated for his repeated verbal attacks against the electronic ballot box system.
Complaints also denounce the use of the state apparatus for electoral purposes.
His government, for example, had Congress approve an increase in social minima a few months before the ballot last October, which he finally lost to leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
But the most advanced investigation, which experts say poses a real threat to his political future, relates to a meeting with ambassadors last July in Brasilia.
Faced with diplomats from around 40 countries, Mr. Bolsonaro showed a PowerPoint presentation full of false information on electronic ballot boxes, which earned him suspicion of abuse of power.
The far-right ex-president is also under pressure due to another scandal, which has made headlines in the Brazilian press: he is accused of smuggling jewelry donated by Saudi Arabia into Brazil. saudi.
The case was revealed by the daily Estadao, which reported the seizure by Brazilian customs of a set of diamonds valued at three million euros intended for the former first lady Michelle Bolsonaro.
These jewels were in the bag of an assistant to a Bolsonaro government minister who was returning from an official visit to Riyadh in October 2021, and they had not been declared beforehand.
Another batch, of male jewelry, arrived in the possession of Jair Bolsonaro, who returned them last week through his lawyers, at the request of the Court of Auditors.
On Tuesday, Estadao revealed the existence of a third batch, including a diamond-set Rolex watch, which the former president received during a trip to Saudi Arabia in 2019, and which he allegedly kept.
According to Brazilian law, when it comes to gifts received from a third country, only gifts of a very personal nature or of minimal value can be kept by the Head of State.
For the current Minister of Justice, Flavio Dino, Bolsonaro could be prosecuted for illegal appropriation of public property or for tax evasion.
The former president will have to explain himself about the Saudi jewelry to the Federal Police on April 5, a police source confirmed to AFP on Wednesday.