Brazilian ‘bitcoin king’ arrested in an alleged $300 million embezzlement case

Police in Brazil hold a press conference about an investigation into a bitcoin scam.
Brazilian police discuss the July 2021 arrests of people involved in an alleged bitcoin scam.

  • Police in the Brazilian state of Parana have arrested several people for their alleged involvement in a bitcoin scam.
  • A self-proclaimed ‘bitcoin king’ was among those arrested over the scheme after a three-year investigation.
  • The alleged scam harmed thousands of customers of a crypto brokerage firm, police said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A self-proclaimed “bitcoin king” in Brazil is among those arrested by police in a case accusing the group of running a $300 million embezzlement scheme.

The arrests follow a three-year investigation in the southern Brazilian state of Parana that was conducted by 90 federal officers. Police outlined the case in a Monday press conference, including the arrest of Claudio Oliveira, the so-called “Bitcoin King” who was the alleged ringleader in the theft of 1.5 billion Brazil reais ($300 million) from investors. Several other people were arrested, according to CoinDesk.

Authorities said Oliveira was the president of a crypto brokerage, Bitcoin Banco Group, which in 2019 claimed that 7,000 bitcoin had gone missing. The group then fraudulently applied for judicial recovery, a type of exemption that allows an entity to pay creditors without filing for bankruptcy, according to the CoinDesk report.

But in 2020, it was determined that the group wasn’t complying with its obligations under the judicial reorganization. According to a translated press release, police said the group continued to bring in new customers and promote its business activities without registering with the country’s Commission of Securities, known as the CVM.

The group is suspected of entering into irregular contracts with thousands of customers, according to the press release about “Operação Daemon,” or Operation Daemon.

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