$1,600 for ice cream: Brazil's ex-president Bolsonaro credit card bill raises eyebrows

Agence France-Presse
$1,600 for ice cream: Brazil's ex-president Bolsonaro credit card bill raises eyebrows
In this file photo taken on October 28, 2022, Brazilian President and reelection candidate for the Liberal Party (PL) Jair Bolsonaro gestures before the start of the television debate at the Globo TV studio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The office of Brazil's prosecutor general (PGR) moved Friday January 13, 2023 to include ex-president Jair Bolsonaro in an investigation of people suspected of "instigation and intellectual authorship" of the January 8 sacking of government buildings in Brasilia.
AFP / Mauro Pimentel

BRASILIA, Brazil — More than $21,000 splurged at a modest restaurant -- $10,700 spent at a bakery in a single day. The public release Friday of ex-president Jair Bolsonaro's official credit card expenditures is raising eyebrows in Brazil.

More than 27.6 million reais -- more than $5 million at today's exchange rate -- was charged to the far-right president's card during his four-year term, according to account statements published Friday on a government website.

Unlike his predecessors, Bolsonaro threw a 100-year secrecy veil over presidential credit card expenditures among other official information, which successor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has begun lifting.

Bolsonaro and 21 members of his team had access to the card.

Adjusted for inflation, the full amount charged to the card is almost half that spent during Lula's first four-year term beginning in 2003 -- though he used the card mainly for accommodations while traveling abroad.

Bolsonaro had frequently claimed not to have charged "a single penny" to the card.

But analysis of the newly-opened records by the Uol news website found that today's equivalent of more than $235,000 was spent by Bolsonaro while on vacation in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Nearly $14,000 was spent on a single visit to a petrol station, and another $286,000 on several visits to a luxury hotel in Guaruja, a seaside resort near Sao Paulo.

According to the website G1, the hotel housed members of Bolsonaro's entourage, while he stayed at a military complex.

Food expenses were among the most astonishing billed items.

On one visit to a restaurant in Boa Vista in the Amazonian state of Roraima, the presidential card was used to pay a bill of more than $21,000.

That would be enough for an order of 2,000 plates of the restaurant's most expensive dish: roast chicken with a side starch, which costs a little less than $10.

The card was also used to charge more than more than $71,000 over four years at a bakery in Rio de Janeiro.

Of this amount, almost $11,000 was spent in one go: on the day after the wedding of Bolsonaro's son. It also happened to be the eve of a motorbike rally organized by Bolsonaro supporters through the streets of Rio.

A total of more than $1,600 was spent at ice cream shops.

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