Brazilian police arrest Google exec over online videos

Google's YouTube site has previously been sanctioned in Brazil over videos critical of political candidates.

Story highlights

  • Authorities release Google's president in Brazil after arrest
  • An arrest warrant accuses Fabio Jose Silva Coelho of "disobedience"
  • He was asked to remove videos that allegedly slandered a mayoral candidate
  • Google argues that it isn't responsible for the YouTube videos' content

Authorities arrested Google's top executive in Brazil Wednesday after officials said he violated the South American country's election law when he didn't take down online videos that allegedly slandered a political candidate.

An arrest warrant in the southwest state of Mato Grosso do Sul accuses Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, Google's president in Brazil, of "disobedience" for not removing YouTube videos about a local mayoral candidate.

Federal police arrested Coelho Wednesday, but described the alleged crime as a "minor offense" and said he would be released on his own recognizance after signing a commitment paper to appear in court.

CNN affiliate Band News reported that he had been released Wednesday evening.

A Google spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In court documents, the company argues that it isn't responsible for the contents of the videos on the Google-owned YouTube site and asks for the case to be dismissed.

Under Brazilian law, the penalty for disobeying a judge's order could be up to a year in prison, federal police said.

Earlier this month, another company executive faced a similar order in the northern state of Paraiba for a video that allegedly slandered a mayoral candidate there.

That case was dismissed after Google successfully convinced the judge that it was not responsible for the contents of the video but simply provided a platform for its diffusion.

In August, Facebook faced an order to remove a page criticizing a political candidate or be forced to go dark in the country for 24 hours. The judge in that case suspended his decision two days after it was issued.

Many Obamas on the ballot in Brazilian elections

Opinion: Should Google censor an anti-Islam video?

Judge: YouTube doesn't have to take down anti-Islam video

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.