Brazil charges church leaders with embezzling millions from poor

| September 13, 2011

Three leading members of one of Brazil's most powerful churches have been accused of laundering millions in church donations and using worshippers' money for personal gain.

The charges, unveiled on Monday by São Paulo's public prosecutor, relate to 404m reals (£150m) allegedly obtained from mostly impoverished churchgoers by leaders at Brazil's Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

The money was subsequently channelled out of the country via a network of offshore bank accounts and money changers, federal prosecutors claimed.

Among those charged is Bishop Edir Macedo, a controversial televangelist who founded the church in 1977, and his financial director, Alba Maria Silva da Costa.

Luís Martins de Oliveira, the prosecutor behind the case, claimed followers were tricked into handing over money to the church through "false promises and threats that spiritual and economic assistance would only be bestowed upon those who made financial sacrifices for the church".

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/13/brazil-church-embezzling-millions-poor

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Category: Church Security

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