Man Accused of Arranging Murder to Avoid Crypto Debt Can’t Escape Jail, Brazilian Court Rules

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Brazil’s supreme court (Ricardo/Flickr)

A Brazilian crypto businessman who allegedly arranged his former lawyer’s murder rather than pay the man a R$2.5 million ($471,965) bitcoin debt remains jailed after Brazil’s Supreme Court rejected his request for freedom.

  • The First Panel of Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear defendant Danilo Afonso Pechin’s request for Habeas Corpus in connection to the execution-style murder of his lawyer Francisco Assis Henrique Neto Rocha.
  • Pechin, a partner of the defunct crypto investments manager Valour Invest, which Brazilian media have described as a pyramid scheme, was arrested in August 2019 on suspicion that he paid hitmen R$500,000 to kill Rocha. Gunmen ambushed and murdered Rocha at a Sao Paulo gas station in June 2019.
  • In a press statement, the Court said that prosecutors allege Pechin owed Rocha R$2.5 million “due to the sale of bitcoins” at the time of Rocha’s death. They cited that debt as the motive for Rocha’s murder.
  • A lower court had previously rejected Pechin’s request for freedom after finding “strong evidence” that he participated in the Rocha murder. Though initially complicated by a preliminary injunction, that denial of Habeas Corpus now stands.
  • The investigation into Rocha’s death is ongoing.

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