Reuters, May 9, 2003
BRASILIA, Brazil, May 9 (Reuters) – Brazilian authorities sealed off a farm belonging to Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Friday and blocked the religious leader from selling nine other properties over environmental concerns.
Prosecutors said police entered the farm and sealed it in a move to force Moon’s Unification Church to carry out environmental impact studies of developments on his properties on the fringes of the world’s largest wetlands, the Pantanal.
“It is a region which has a highly fragile environment,” said Alexandre Ruslan, a prosecutor in the state of Matto Grosso do Sul where Moon bought 138,000 acres (56,000 hectares) of farm and swampland in the 1990s.
Ruslan alleged Moon built roads, buildings and cut down forests, but failed to carry out environmental impact studies on his properties where the South Korean religious leader has developed a closed-door community for his followers. His Unification Church was not available for comment.
The Pantanal is a 96,500 square-mile (250,000 square-km) wetland flooding area that is home to many exotic and threatened animal species, like jaguars and alligators.