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UK fintech exec accused of laundering crypto for ‘Brazilian Escobar’

uk-fintech-exec-accused-of-laundering-crypto-for-brazilian-escobar
Edited by
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UK fintech exec accused of laundering crypto for ‘Brazilian Escobar’

UK fintech owner Caio Marchesani faces extradition for alleged involvement in a large-scale crypto money laundering operation.

Caio Marchesani, the owner of a London-based fintech company, is under investigation for allegedly aiding and abetting Sérgio Roberto de Carvalho, commonly known as the “Brazilian Pablo Escobar,” one of the most wanted men on Interpol’s radar.

Marchesani has allegedly convered illegal drug money into several cryptocurrencies for de Carvalho’s cartel. He has been identified as the founder of Trans-Fast Remittance, a payments platform regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). He was apprehended in May this year while at Heathrow Airport.

According to the UK government database, Marchesani is listed as a director of two other UK companies, ACAI HOLDING LTD and OPTIMUM POINT CAPITAL LLP.

UK fintech exec accused of laundering crypto for 'Brazilian Escobar' - 1
Data on Marchesani business ownership | Source: UK government database

Binance accounts for de Carvalho

Belgian authorities initiated their probe three years back when Dutch officials intercepted an enormous shipment of cocaine worth upwards of €260 million ($283 million) at Rotterdam Port.

The trail led to Flor Bressers and Sergio Roberto De Carvalho — both of whom have since been arrested — and ultimately implicated Marchesani. Investigators cited progress in deciphering encrypted messages as a pivotal factor in identifying his involvement.

Marchesani reportedly managed multiple cryptocurrency accounts on the Binance platform on behalf of Bressers. Furthermore, he is accused of holding substantial sums of money for De Carvalho and levying exorbitant transaction fees of up to 9%.

The list of suspects in this ongoing investigation extends far beyond the UK and Belgium, encompassing individuals from Brazil, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and France. Five suspects, including Bressers, De Carvalho, and Marchesani, are currently in pretrial detention. His extradition hearings in London revealed that a bail request was denied due to concerns that he poses a flight risk, with a judicial ruling on his extradition expected later this month.

According to separate court filings, Marchesani’s Trans-Fast Remittance appears to have been a favored financial conduit for Brazilian clients, accounting for as much as 85% of its user base. The company’s recorded phone message indicates that it is presently offline.

Binance has also confirmed that the exchange has been cooperating with law enforcement agencies related to this investigation.

This development has prompted renewed concerns about the adequacy of financial oversight in the United Kingdom’s burgeoning fintech sector. Transparency International UK has already sounded the alarm, pointing out that over a third of British electronic money institutions exhibit worrying signs of lax compliance.