Eike Batista, the wealthiest man in Brazil, paid the equivalent of US$ 285,000 for the inauguration suit of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva when he first took office in January 2002.
The sale was part of a charity auction to collect funds for a famous São Paulo favela (shantytown) that goes by the name of Paraisópolis, (Paradise City).
According to daily O Estado de S. Paulo, Batista, a tycoon with assets in the oil and steel industries, increased five times the starting price for the suit, one of the many objects and artifacts auctioned at a charity event organized by Lula’s hair dresser Wanderley Nunes and with the support from First Lady Marisa Letícia.
The auction at the chic Daslú shop in São Paulo managed to collect US$ 1.2 million, but the sum was later doubled by a matching sum from Batista, who besides the suit had also bought other articles, according to the press report.
Among the many donations for the auction were a guitar with an autograph from the Rolling Stones Mick Jagger; tennis shoes and a ball from one of Brazil’s former top basketball players Oscar Schmidt; team colors signed by soccer super stars Kaká, Pelé and Ronaldo, as well as garments from model Jesus Luz, Madonna’s current boyfriend.
The money collected is to be invested in People’s School, a literacy program for the residents of the Paraisópolis favela.