The arrest took place on August 26th. According to Federal Police agents, the money was stored in cardboard boxes inside the passenger’s hand luggage.
“They [a PF] say what they want. I put the money wherever I want, in the cardboard box, in the shoe, it’s mine,” he told the radio.
On Wednesday (1), senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE) told Covid’s CPI that he had indications that the amount would be used to finance undemocratic acts. The commission’s president, Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), then stated that the complaint would be taken to the STF minister Alexandre de Moraes, rapporteur of the digital militia inquiry.
On the radio, he maintained that the money is part of his assets and is declared to the Internal Revenue Service. Asked why transported BRL 505,000 in cash, he did not elaborate on what kind of business he would do.
“I use this money for business opportunities. And as it is declared and it says in the revenue that declared, it goes anywhere in Brazil. So I take my money wherever I want”, says the mayor, elected in 2020 to govern the city North of RS. Known as Gringo Loco, Alba received more than 2.4 thousand votes in the city of 12 thousand inhabitants.
The charge was detected by the terminal’s x-ray machine. The PF reports that the passenger, initially, attested not knowing the amount he was carrying, to later say that he was carrying R$ 1.4 million. Without specifying where the money came from, the mayor would only have stated that the amount had a lawful origin.
“Now, no one is going to prohibit me from having money to buy cattle at auctions, cheaper land because I have cash. People with cash are another world,” he said.
Due to doubt, the PF collected the amount, counting R$505,000. An investigative procedure will be instituted to determine the origin of the money. According to the results of the investigation, the passenger may be liable for crimes such as money laundering, in the form of concealment, and crimes against the national financial system.
Carrying national currency within the country, regardless of the amount, is not a crime, informs the PF. However, the holder must know how to justify and prove the origin of the values.
Check out excerpts from the interview
Moderator: Aren’t you afraid?
“How am I supposed to be scared if no one knows? Who’s going to know I’ve got 500 grand in my suitcase?”
Moderator: If it’s lawful, why didn’t you mean the destination of the suitcase?
“You’ve been given bad news, it’s not true. When I arrived at the airport, I put my suitcase on the X-ray, passed it, accused it. I called the boy, he asked if I have any irregularities in the suitcase, I said “there are no irregularities , my suitcase has money, declared”. [ele perguntou] How much? I don’t have to say how much I had, but I told him R$1,400. He said “you’re kidding me”, I said no, I say, it’s R$1.4 million. Thinking it was a joke.”
“But he said ‘in this case I have to talk to the Federal Police’, I say ‘you can call whatever body you want’. I wouldn’t be stupid to pass a suitcase on the x-ray, as we know, if the money were illicit why didn’t the police arrest me there?”
Moderator: Why was it in cardboard boxes?
“They [a PF] say what they want. I put the money wherever I want, in the cardboard box, in the shoe, it’s mine. It doesn’t mean that everything they say is true.”
Moderator: Can you tell where this money was going?
“Where was this money going? If I have the ticket I bought to São Paulo, and I have the ticket that was going back to Porto Alegre, where did I have the money? In São Paulo”.
Moderator: What were you going to spend that money on?
“I don’t have to tell you what I was going to do with my money. It could even be a party.”
Moderator: Don’t you trust the banking system? Why are you carrying R$ 500 thousand and why can’t you tell where the money was going?
“If you insist too much I’ll stop talking to you. I don’t trust the banking system? Don’t talk like that because I took the rest of the money I had, I made some investments, and the rest is in the bank, I put it in savings” .
“How come I don’t trust the banking system? Now, no one will prohibit me from having money to buy cattle at auctions, cheaper land because I have cash. People with cash are another world.”
“There’s a risk. Of course there is. Only now I’ll never leave with money because with all this fuss, the bad guys are all crazy to try so I’ll have the money at home.”