Records Show Bolsonaro Charged Up a Storm on Corporate Card

Newly released credit card bills for Brazil's ex-leader show he really seems to love ice cream
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2023 10:00 AM CST
Records Show Bolsonaro Charged Up a Storm on Corporate Card
Then-Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks from his official residence in Brasilia, Brazil, on Nov. 1.   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

While Jair Bolsonaro is living his new best life in the Sunshine State, news has emerged that shows he appears to have lived his old best life on the Brazilian government's dime. His official credit card expenditures while he was president of the South American nation were released Friday, and AFP notes some of the itemized costs are "raising eyebrows" in his native country. The records were released after current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva overturned a 100-year ban Bolsonaro had put in place over presidential expenditures, letting out to the public records from the country's last four presidencies, stretching back to 2003, per the Guardian.

While Bolsonaro once claimed to never have charged "a single penny" on his government-issued credit card, which was to be used for travel and small or urgent purchases, the bill for his four years in office shows that might not be the case. The documented charges exceed $5 million at today's exchange rate, most of which was spent on hotels and food, per the Guardian and AFP, which notes that nearly two dozen people in Bolsonaro's team, in addition to Bolsonaro himself, had access to the card. The largest expenditures came from frequent visits to a resort in Guaruja, where Bolsonaro liked to relax when he had a weekend off—more than $285,000 in total for those accommodations.

The G1 website says that the hotel typically housed his entourage, while Bolsonaro himself stayed at a nearby military complex, per AFP. Restaurants and other eateries also ate up a large chunk of the spending. At one hamburger joint in the state of Ceara, the tab for one visit came to nearly $5,000; at another restaurant in Roraima state, the bill was a staggering $21,000, spent on more than 650 takeout meals and nearly 3,000 sandwiches in one day. Over $70,000, meanwhile, was dropped over four years at a Rio de Janeiro bakery. The corporate card was also used to pay for trips to a gas station (one visit cost $14,000), pharmacies, a pet shop, and "dozens of trips to ice-cream parlors," per the Guardian. The total ice cream bill over time? About $1,600. (Read more Jair Bolsonaro stories.)

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