July 12 (Bloomberg) — Brazil’s biggest opposition party expelled a lower house deputy who was detained by police at the capital’s airport yesterday allegedly carrying about 10 million reais ($4.3 million) in cash.
The Liberal Front Party ended Joao Batista Ramos da Silva’s membership because it isn’t part of a lawmaker’s duties to transport money or collect donations to the church, which Silva said he was doing, a statement on the party’s Web site said.
Silva, the president of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, said the money came from contributions collected last weekend on the church’s 28th birthday. He was carrying the money because the church concentrates all its payment in Sao Paulo’s headquarters, he said in a testimony at a full session of the lower house.
“I was carrying the money myself because I’m the president of the church,” Silva said. “The money isn’t illegal and it has a destination, so I regret my party’s hasty decision.”
Silva and six people traveling with him had as many as seven suitcases of money when he was detained before boarding a private plane, according to a police statement. The police detained Silva after an anonymous tip, the statement said.
Brazilian law limits the amount of cash that can be carried without making a report to tax and financial authorities.