That Evangelical churches have carved out a significant niche of influence in Brazilian public life is no secret. Neither is it news that many of these organizations are tied up in corruption schemes involving massive amounts of money. In Rio de Janeiro, prosecutors are investigating an alleged money laundering racket connected to the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which is among the largest Evangelical charismatic institutions in the Americas.
Suspicions stemmed from a report from Brazil’s money laundering enforcement agency Coaf, which identified the “atypical” transfer of BRL 5.9 billion (USD 1.05 billion) between May 2018 and April 2019 in the church’s accounts. State prosecutors say there is sufficient evidence to affirm the organization is being used to launder large quantities of funds obtained from corruption in the Rio de Janeiro municipal government.