The Attorney General’s Office (AGU) obtained from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) the acceptance of the decision of the Brazilian Justice that determined the repatriation of the precious stone known as “Esmeralda Bahia”.
AGU’s Department of International Affairs (DAI/PGU) team managed to validate an “affidavit”, a kind of international attestation of the decisions of the Brazilian Justice and the Brazilian procedural system. In this way, the United States Department of Justice formally recognized the validity of a decision by the Federal Regional Court of the 3rd Region (TRF3) that determined that the stone was owned by Brazil. After the proceedings in the Brazilian justice system, the TRF recognized, in a final and unappealable decision in a criminal action, the Union’s ownership of the stone.
The DOJ has established the understanding that when the Assistant U.S. Attorney General recognizes a foreign judgment, it becomes a judgment of a U.S. court, based on the bilateral treaty between the United States and Brazil, as well as the US legislation. The DOJ also defined that potential interested parties in the stone will not have the right to challenge the repatriation in the American Courts if they had the same opportunity to raise the question in a foreign court – in this case, before the Brazilian Court.
“Brazil is pleased with the DOJ’s decision to try to enforce the Brazilian confiscation order. As Brazilian authorities have proved, Esmeralda Bahia is a national treasure that was illegally mined and illegally exported. We look forward to Esmeralda’s return to its true home, Brazil”, says Homero Andretta Junior, director of the Department of International Affairs at the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGU).
Now, the DOJ petition will be submitted to a US court in Washington, the US capital.
The AGU acted in court to request the blockade of the “Esmeralda Bahia” and the recognition of international legal cooperation with the US Department of Justice for the return of the stone to Brazil. In the first half of 2015, the requests were granted and transmitted to the American Judiciary, which determined the application of the restraining order on the emerald in that country. Currently, “Esmeralda Bahia” is in the custody of the Los Angeles Police (California/USA), by virtue of this court order.
For AGU, the property of “Esmeralda Bahia” belongs to the Federal Government, pursuant to articles 20, item IX, and 176, paragraph 1, of the Federal Constitution. The gemstone was taken from Brazil without proper authorization or permission. It was later sent to the US using falsified documentation. The mineral, therefore, could not have been sold by prospectors and intermediaries to American buyers, much less shipped abroad.
In 2017, a decision in the Federal Court in Campinas (SP) convicted two accused of illegally sending the stone valued at US$ 372 million to the United States, in a criminal action whose sentence also declared the forfeiture of the piece in favor of the Union.