The company Rental Coins, owned by businessman Francisley Valdevino da Silva, had its bankruptcy decreed by the Justice of Paraná on Tuesday (25), in a lawsuit filed by a creditor who claims to have R$ 66 thousand stuck in the company. Rental Coins is just one of the 100 or so companies owned by Francisley, who became known as the “Sheik of Cryptocurrencies” or “Sheik of Bitcoins”.
He is accused of operating a billion-dollar scheme involving cryptocurrencies in Brazil and abroad. Among the people allegedly harmed by the group are model Sasha Meneghel, daughter of presenter Xuxa, and her husband, João Figueiredo. They allocated R$ 1.2 million in the business.
In the decision, Judge Luciane Pereira Ramos, from the 2nd Court of Bankruptcy and Judicial Reorganization of Curitiba, mentions Francisley’s “nababesque life”, “living in the midst of the luxury arising, probably, from his irregular activities”.
“It appears, therefore, that the bankruptcy of the debtor Rental Coins still has a healing effect by withdrawing from the market a company through which irregularities would have been committed that injured a significant number of creditors”, says the magistrate.
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Despite being a result of the request of a single creditor, the decision encompasses all people who have proven to have resources stuck in Rental Coins. The appointed trustee, the law firm Attila Sauner Posse, will seek the assets it can identify and will be responsible for drawing up a list of creditors.
Subsequently, these assets will be sold and the result shared between the creditors. The decision is still subject to appeal, but an eventual grant is seen as unlikely by lawyers who follow the case.
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On the other hand, it is still not possible to estimate how long it may still take for the first customers to be reimbursed.
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“It is difficult to say due to the company’s profile, but the decision determined that within 60 days the administrator must present a plan for the sale of the assets he finds. I believe that a lot will depend on the interaction between the bankruptcy and the police investigation that has already seized some assets”, explains lawyer Alceu Eilert Nascimento, from Demeterco Sade Advogados.
“The company has always been opaque, without giving access to any balance sheets and financial information. Let’s try to understand the size of the economic group and where the resources were used. From this, it will be possible to assess whether there will be assets to pay creditors”, emphasizes Nascimento, who represents victims of the alleged coup applied by the company.
As did several companies accused of operating financial pyramid schemes in Brazil, such as Atlas Quantum and Genbit, the companies of the “Sheikh of cryptocurrencies” also issued their own cryptoassets that would represent the debt of customers to the business.
In the case of Rental Coins, traded contracts involved stablecoins (stable value cryptocurrencies) issued by the group, such as BRCP and Upper, which were acquired and leased by customers. With bankruptcy, the lease contracts are liquidated and the cryptocurrencies will be returned.
“It is very likely that these cryptocurrencies exist in some digital wallet. If they exist, the administrator will deliver them to customers who own these cryptocurrencies”, says Nascimento. “The problem is that outside the Francis ecosystem, these cryptocurrencies are worthless. That is, they will receive something that has no market value”.
To receive the investment back in reais, warns the lawyer, victims will have to file new lawsuits in the Judiciary.
understand the case
Francisley Valdevino da Silva, also known as the “Sheik of cryptocurrencies” or “Sheik of Bitcoins”, built a transnational business group composed of around 100 companies in Brazil and abroad.
The main companies are: Rental Coins Tecnologia da Informação LTDA, Intergalaxy Holding SA, ITX Administradora de Bens LTDA and Interag Administração de Fundos LTDA. In some, her mother appears as a partner. In its communications, the conglomerate identifies itself as the “Interag group”.
A survey carried out by InfoMoney in the Courts of Justice shows that the combined values of the actions reach R$ 100 million. As some cases are under judicial secrecy, and there are lawsuits in other states, the amount may be even higher.
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All this imbroglio caught the attention of the authorities. On October 6, the Federal Police executed 20 search and seizure warrants for the accused. According to the PF, the scheme would have moved more than R$4 billion since 2016, with funds even being sent outside Brazil.
The money would be from victims who believed in a promise of high returns of 20% on the capital invested in an alleged cryptocurrency operation with a large team of expert traders. However, according to the PF, negotiations never took place.
The scheme would also have carried out a similar crypto scam abroad, but with a focus on multi-level marketing. The group would have extended its activities to the United States and at least 10 other countries.
The Federal Police began the investigation in March 2022 after Interpol received information and a request for cooperation from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Department of Homeland Security at the US Embassy in Brasilia.