Miners targeted by Federal Police (PF) attempted to conceal illicit assets through cryptocurrency transactions, shortly after Operation Gold Rush, launched last September to investigate mining and trading gold illegals. The group allegedly allocated digital currencies in orange accounts or cold wallets, says a PF report obtained by federal law enforcement. metropolises.
Five businessmen were arrested 10 months later, in July this year, in a new phase of the PF operation, Ganância.
The minors, however, are already released by order of the judges of the Federal Regional Court of the 1st Region (TRF-1), as shown in the metropolises in first hand. In practice, the magistrates saw no risk for the operation in releasing them. The criminal organization allegedly moved more than BRL 16 billion between 2019 and 2021.
Operation Gold Rush executed search and seizure warrants at the Água Branca mine in Itaituba (PA). There is Gana Gold, owned by businessman Márcio Macedo Sobrinho.
After the action exploded, the group began trying to conceal illicit assets.
Alysson Alves da Silva, 45, is appointed as the criminal group’s financial operations coordinator, usually related to cryptocurrencies. It alone moved about 3 million US dollars (16 million reais at the current price) in digital currencies, between June 12, 2019 and November 1, 2021.
“Alysson can allocate its digital currencies in third-party accounts, or even in so-called hard wallets, which are wallets normally used to store high values in crypto assets. They are called cold wallets and are disconnected from the network. They have SEED, as a rule, of 24 words, which makes it impossible to break any type of encryption,” the PF document details.
As trades were made through Binancethe largest cryptocurrency broker in Brazil and in the world.
The exchange has been used by drug dealers, hackers, and fraudsters to launder money. A Reuters report published in June pointed out that Binance served as a launderer for a total of at least US$2.3 billion (equivalent to R$12.6 billion at current prices) between 2017 and 2021.
In Brazil, the Central Bank (BC) informed the Acesso Bank, responsible for the brokerage’s transactions, of the high risk of money laundering in the operations and demanded the presentation of detailed information on the customers, as revealed the newspaper Folha de S. Paul.
The BC found that Binance allegedly moved BRL 40 billion in 2021 without having any control over who the clients were and whether the origin of the funds was legal.
The broker was also one of the companies used in the financial pyramid scheme attributed to former server Glaidson Acácio dos Santos, the Bitcoin pharaoh.
“With respect to cryptocurrencies, Alysson made 114 transfers from Binance addresses to his personal addresses (hosted in his crypto wallets) during the period,” the company explains.
The operations carried out on the exchange by the criminal group have not been declared to the tax authorities.
Crypto asset to launder money
A The Federal Police also identified the creation of a crypto asset by the criminal group to launder moneyas revealed by metropolises. The currency, created by Instruaud, one of the group companies, was called IAUD, with a market value of R$109.21. The token was created on August 3, 2021, just before the start of Operation Gold Rush.
Instruaud presented an expansion project, the objective of which is to open new branches in all the capitals of the country, and promised profits of up to 6% per year to investors.
In this way, explains the federal police, illicit resources from illegal mining could be injected into the company by the owners themselves under the guise of resources from anonymous investors who acquired the crypto asset, interested by the promised benefits.
The analyzes however showed that almost all of the assets traded were purchased by an address linked to Marcelo Alves Macedo, brother of Márcio Macedo Sobrinho and CEO of Instruaud.
“It is proven that there was no significant third party money in the tokenization project promoted by Instruaud, so far, being a clear attempt to move and hide illicit values by the investigation”, detail the investigation.