The Superior Court of Justice (STJ) decided that the Curitiba Court (PR) should proceed with the investigation into the alleged digital fraud of accounts of the exchanges Negociecoins and Tem BTC, both of the Bitcoin Bank Group (GBB). The decision was published on Monday (30) on the STJ website.
Minister Antonio Saldanha Palheiro stated that the jurisdiction for this case did not lie with the Law Court of the 2nd Criminal Court of Birigui (SP), as was argued in the request made by the 12th Criminal Court of Curitiba (PR). This is because it was in Curitiba that GBB companies would have suffered the alleged fraud.
The reasoning used by Palheiro goes in the sense of what the Public Ministry of the State of São Paulo (MPSP) had already argued in the Birigui court with the aim of the 2nd criminal court of that municipality to declare itself incompetent to deal with the matter.
“The subtraction of money from the current account by means of an internet transfer, without authorization from the account holder, would be the judgment of the place of the consummation of the crime of theft, that is, from where the property left the victim's availability (place where the financial agency that maintains the investments would be located) ”.
The manifestation of the MPSP, therefore, was accepted by the Justice of Birigui, which declared itself incompetent to judge this case that, then, stopped in the Justice of Curitiba. That, in turn, also declined competence.
The curious Bitcoin Bank case
The fact is that the crime news (a kind of complaint) to “investigate alleged digital fraud of cryptocurrency accounts, which led to the freezing of withdrawals” was presented in Birigui.
The Curitiba Court, in declining its jurisdiction, gave reason to the Public Ministry of the State of Paraná (MPPR), which mentioned that the alleged crime on screen came to court for “mere crime news based on documents gathered by the newscaster”, the GBB .
According to the Paraná MP, this case would be “the object of a police investigation into the powers of the Constitutional Police of this Capital”, but nothing “was found in the PROMP System” of that police station.
The STJ Minister, however, disagreed with this position of the Paraná MP. Palheiros mentioned that the case, as pointed out by the São Paulo prosecutor's office, “configures the crime of theft through fraud (art. 155, § 4, II, of the Penal Code), and not a felony offense”. This has even been the guideline signed within the scope of the Third Section of the STJ, according to the minister.
This decision by Palheiros can still be modified at any time, considering that the competence judgment was made in the middle of the still investigative phase.
“The present conflict was still raised in the inquisitorial phase, and it is certain that the conclusion regarding the competence for processing and judging the fact was established based on the evidence gathered until the incident started, which is why the competence may be changed if new elements arise after the deepening of the investigations ”.
GBB and the alleged fraud
The company, which is currently undergoing judicial reorganization, had, last year, blocked withdrawals from its customers arguing that its brokers' systems had been invaded by hackers. The case was taken by the GBB to the civil police in the middle of last year and until now it is still investigating what would have happened.
Bitcoin Bank initially claimed to have suffered a loss of R $ 50 million at the time. The inquiry was opened at the request of NegocieCoins, which nevertheless presented a list of 30 people who should be investigated for criminal association and theft. One of these people presented his defense saying he was surprised by the blocking of his account for "suspicious transactions".
The GBB was even summoned by the Paraná court to present evidence that shows that they were victims of fraud perpetrated on the internet. At the time, judge Marcelo Mazzali, from the 25th Civil Court of Curitiba (PR), gave the group 15 days to present a document produced by an independent external audit in order to attest to the alleged frauds committed by the defendants.
The case handled in the STJ, however, does not deal with the alleged hacker invasion itself, but only with the competence to judge this case that has been investigated since May 2019.