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"They tried to convert the bank's $ 30 million stolen into bitcoin", says prosecutor of the case


Prosecutor Flávio Duarte (Photo: MP-RS / Disclosure)

"It was all planned," he told the Bitcoin Portal prosecutor Flávio Duarte, who conducted Operation Criptoshow last Thursday (25). Although Duarte has not confirmed the names of the companies involved, it is known that the action was aimed at fulfilling 13 search and seizure warrants aimed at clarifying a theft of R $ 30 million from the Gerdau account at Banco Santander.

According to the Public Ministry of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (MPRS), investigations show that it is a criminal organization whose command was in charge of the head of a company in Cachoeirinha, one of the largest municipalities in that state.

In an interview, Duarte explained how the gang acted in a sophisticated blow that was revealed exclusively by Bitcoin Portal on April 30th.

Bitcoin Portal – How was it possible to move such a large sum in the accounts without raising the banks' attention?
Flávio Duarte – It was prepared before. The group had contacted the bank a few days earlier to ask for authorization to handle large amounts. Then the bank returned, probably saw that this person had amounts in the account and authorized, released operations at a certain level.

Let's say someone has R $ 100 thousand in their account and try to make a bank transfer. She calls the bank, asks for authorization and the bank must give a larger margin.

With that in mind, that person entered the system, with his password and login as the master user of an account at the same bank. Then, due to some technical and systemic question by the bank, instead of his company being debited for those transfers of R $ 30 million, the money ended up falling into the companies that were injured.

Is this door open for a similar blow to happen again?
What has to be assessed is whether someone among those identified and perhaps among those who have not been identified within this criminal scheme – there is information yet to be confirmed that any of them could be an employee / ex-employee of the same bank.

Fernando Magnus de Cachoeirinha is a former Santander employee who is even suing Santander.
I will not speak of names, I cannot confirm or deny any names. What we have is that one of the operators would have been an employee of the bank and would tell that even on his social networks.

You found out that one exchange was the recipient of R $ 11 million and that the previous day another exchange was the recipient of R $ 7.7 million. Was that amount of R $ 18 million the amount the scam managed to transform into bitcoin?
What I can say – for the purpose of continuing the investigation – is the following: there was an attempt to practically all this value and even a little more, if it were all in an operation only converted into crypto.

Initially the R $ 30 million …
No, even more … We already had an indication of a premeditation on that phone call to expand the possibility of transferring a certain account – it already indicated that everything was planned.

There is also an attempt by one of those investigated to carry out an operation in the amount of R $ 40 million. Exchanges do not accept such large amounts, for security reasons, which caused this money to be diluted. Part of these values ​​was identified, another part identified later.

The path was more or less drawn. Part of these amounts were also recovered by the bank, exactly the full amount I don't know, around R $ 10 million, but I'm not sure about that.

So what was converted into bitcoin was R $ 18.9 million?
This is what has already been mapped. I believe that the entire amount has been converted into bitcoins.

Would there be a bigger gang behind it?
I believe so, because we already have the next cycle of these operations that indicate the participation of other people.

People besides the former bank employee?
No doubt. What I can say is this. There is the first person who practiced the first diversion, of the R $ 30 million. That same person was at the other end of converting values ​​into crypto. Besides him there are several other people.

But would the leader be the bank's former employee?
I do not believe it, but it can be, because he did a big operation and what he reverted to him is substantial, but it is not so big; other people made a ‘profit’ much higher than his.

Did bitcoin dealers know where the money came from or are they also victims?
That is difficult to say. It goes a lot as far as the person's knowledge. And then there is talk of money laundering. He needs to know that he was doing it there to hide the embezzled money from Company X, the money that has no legal origin. If he had a way of knowing and then says he didn't know, he could be framed in a money laundering crime.

Do you have technology to track the crypto?
Just as they have their technique; we have ours. It is obvious that we are always one step behind, but we are on the same path, we learn over time.

Did you have to knock on an exchange door?
No, it was not necessary, precisely because of the collaboration of most of them. A serious exchange is fully interested in contributing to this type of investigation, even to demystify the crypto market as something that is illicit in nature.

And the case of the second theft, that of the brokerage injured by R $ 5 million?
This was found by us, in the progress of the investigations, due to the same characteristics, in the same circumstances, beginning, middle and end. And we identified the operator and the destination attempt, because the final tip ended up not being effective.

What are the next steps in this investigation now?
There is a lot pending analysis, financial data has already been sent to the MP, there is a bureaucracy that delays (such as bank secrecy), and there is an analysis of the material that was seized – from a physical document to a bitcoin wallet.

* Collaborated with Wagner Riggs

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