A court in Brazil has frozen 19.5 million reals (£4.5m, $6.07m) of Facebook’s funds in a dispute with secure messaging service WhatsApp over a criminal case.
The federal police say Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has refused to share the contents of messages sent by suspected drug smugglers.
They need the data to connect those captured with others based around the world,Reuters reported. Facebook declined to comment.
The frozen money is the equivalent amount that the company has been fined for “disregarding the law” over a period of five months, reports local news agency G1.
The funds have been blocked from Facebook’s account because WhatsApp doesn’t have a bank account in the country, the report claims. WhatsApp is hugely popular in Brazil, and is reported to have 93 million users.
In March Facebook’s vice-president for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, was arrested after the firm failed to co-operate with court orders in a drug-trafficking case. At the time Facebook described the arrest as an “extreme and disproportionate measure”.
“Facebook has always been and will be available to address any questions Brazilian authorities may have,” the company said.