Accused of being a financial pyramid scheme using bitcoin that has hurt at least 50,000 customers, Minerworld and associated companies started 2020 with a new setback in court.
According to a report by the Midiamax portal, the Public Prosecutor's Office of Mato Grosso do Sul (MP-MS) rejected the defendants' defense in the case file and also asked for conviction for bad faith litigation on the part of the accused.
Among the targets of the MP's action is Cícero Saad, creator of Minerworld. Also listed are Rosineide Pinto Lima, José Aparecido Maia dos Santos and Jonhnes de Carvalho Nunes, in addition to the company Bit Ofertas – which is associated with Minerworld.
Mayko Alessandro Cunha Franceschi, who was introduced as a founding partner of the company, was also asked to be sentenced in absentia.
What the MP-MS says
Minerworld claimed, among other arguments, that the Brazilian courts would not have the competence to judge it, because the company is registered in Paraguay. It also said that the origin of the entire crisis involving the company, in mid-2017, would be an alleged theft of bitcoins.
For MP-MS, however, most of Minerworld's business took place on Brazilian soil, basically in Campo Grande. In addition, the prosecutor also justifies that Brazilian jurisprudence has pacified the issue of contractual forums.
Also according to the Public Ministry, Minerworld did not prove in court that its income came from mining, but from the money of investors that made up the base of the financial pyramid.
The prosecutor's office of the state of Mato Grosso also requests the impugnation of photographs and documents attached to the action as evidence by the defense of Minerworld. The MP understood that there was production of evidence before the judicial authorization in order to delay the process.
On the other hand, the prosecutor asks that documents related to other suspected financial pyramid cases, such as Telexfree and Eco Luvre (Green Gold) be attached as evidence against another defendant, Ivan Félix de Lima.
Franceschi's conviction in absentia was requested because the defense's defense could not be admitted as such. This is because, according to the MP, the defendant would not have been able to prove illegitimacy of appearing in the passive pole of the action.
Understand the Minerworld case
The companies Bit Ofertas, Bitpago and Minerworld presented themselves as cryptocurrency platforms focused on trading products using bitcoin as a means of payment and promised exorbitant profits on top of the cryptocurrency.
They also promised exorbitant profits on top of cryptocurrency, a classic recipe for schemes that turn out to be financial pyramids soon after.
On April 17, 2018, the three companies were targeted by the Special Action Group to Combat Organized Crime (Gaeco). The agents then start operations in the cities of Campo Grande (MS) and São Paulo, carrying out search and seizure warrants at their headquarters.
According to the police, the scheme had as its main leaders Cícero Saad, Hércules Gobbi and Johnnes Carvalho, who recruited people to be part of the group that, according to them, was a bitcoin mining company.
Minerworld, which at the end of 2017 already received several complaints about unrealized payments (of the profits promised in the pyramid), then announced the theft of 851 bitcoins that the company suffered at Poloniex.
The exchange, which is based in the state of Delaware (USA), did not comment on the case. Then, everything started to be investigated as alleged fraudulent financial pyramid formation.
The operation, called “Lucro Fácil”, was requested by the MP-MS after a public civil action filed by the 43rd Prosecutor's Office.
The institution is responsible for protecting and defending the collective and individual interests of the consumer.
The investigations started after the complaint of the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM), which verified the injured public and asked for action.
In November 2018, Minerworld was authorized to open a new account for bitcoin and cryptocurrency deposits in order to ease debts with injured consumers. However, the company frustrated the courts and other interested parties.
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