A Rio de Janeiro federal court judge has ordered Brazil’s so-called “Bitcoin Pharaoh” Glaidson Acácio dos Santos to pay 19 billion Brazilian reais (nearly $3.7 billion) to a business court, with the aim of reimbursing investors and creditors that lost money in a Ponzi scheme his company allegedly participated in.
The business owner has been ordered to deposit the funds to a business court, the reports said, which would eventually be passed on to the creditors and investors that did business with Dos Santos’ firm, G.A.S. Consultoria e Tecnologia. The debts would only be paid out to creditors if the company can prove their lawful origin, O Globo reported.
Dos Santos, a former waiter, has been in jail on charges related to an alleged pyramid scheme called Operation Kryptos. Brazil’s federal police said in August 2021 that it had seized 591 bitcoins (then worth nearly $28 million) as part of the operation, among other items like watches, jewelry and documents.
More than 122,000 investors have registered on a G.A.S creditor website, O Globo reported, and they are seeking about $9 billion Brazilian reais so far. The news outlet also reported on September 15 that a federal regional court had newly granted habeas corpus to Dos Santos.
Whether Dos Santos will pay the court-ordered amount remains unclear.
Last week, a regional electoral court in Rio de Janeiro unanimously voted to block Dos Santos’ candidacy for a congressional deputy seat.
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Kristin Majcher is a senior correspondent at The Block, based in Colombia. She covers the Latin America market. Before joining, she worked as a freelancer with bylines in Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler and MIT Technology Review among other publications.