Presidential furniture row takes new turn in Brazil

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Jair BolsonaroImage source, Shutterstock

The Brazilian government says it has found dozens of furniture items that were reported missing from the official presidential residence when President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office in January last year.

At the time, he accused his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, of taking the 261 pieces with him.

Lula then spent $40,000 (£31,000) of public funds refurnishing the palace.

All the items have now been found at an undisclosed location on the estate.

Mr Bolsonaro said Lula should answer for falsely reporting a crime.

The former first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, said the accusations of theft from the modernist Alvorada Palace had been a smokescreen to justify spending thousands of dollars on new luxury furniture items.

Left-winger Lula beat the far-right Mr Bolsonaro in a close-fought election in October 2022.

Following the election, thousands who refused to accept Mr Bolsonaro’s loss stormed the government district in the capital Brasilia in protest. Buildings including the presidential palace and supreme court were ransacked.

Supporters of Lula said the riots were an attempted coup.

Mr Bolsonaro says he has been a victim of political persecution since leaving office just over a year ago.

At a rally in São Paulo last month, he told tens of thousands of supporters that coup allegations against him were a “lie”.

Mr Bolsonaro is barred from running for office for eight years for undermining the electoral system in Brazil and claiming the last election was fraudulent, despite there being no evidence of electoral fraud.

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