Braiscompany founder Joao Felipe Costa arrested in Argentina

Two individuals, a man, and a woman have been arrested in Argentina on charges of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that moved over $400 million in cryptocurrency in Brazil.

The operation, conducted with the assistance of the Argentine Federal Police and Interpol, successfully located the couple despite their use of fake identities.

The man, identified as “Joao Felipe Costa” in Argentina, was revealed by local media to be Antonio Inacio Da Silva Neto, one of the founders of Braiscompany, a firm claiming to “empower financial freedom for thousands of people through information.” The woman, his partner, was named Fabricia Farias Campos.

Da Silva Neto had an active Interpol warrant issued in March 2023, charging him with offenses against the Brazilian financial system, money laundering, and crimes against the capital market. In February, both fraudsters were sentenced to lengthy prison terms—88 years and 7 months for Da Silva Neto and 61 years and 11 months for Farias Campos.

The arrests followed an extensive investigation that traced the couple’s movements through various purchases and payments made under their false identities in Argentina. Currently in custody of Argentine authorities, they await extradition orders to be transferred to Brazil for incarceration.

In a related development, another individual associated with the Braiscompany case was extradited from Argentina to Brazil in December. Although his identity was not disclosed, he was suspected of serving as the financial operator of the company, facilitating financial transactions between Braiscompany and other entities.

Latin America ranks fifth in the world for cryptocurrency adoption and consistently captures between 8% and 10% of global cryptocurrency activity. The region saw a ten-fold increase in the use of cryptocurrencies over the last two years. Leading the way are Venezuela and Argentina, ranking seventh and tenth, respectively, in the Global Crypto Adoption Index published by Chainalysis.

Argentina’s approach to cryptocurrency regulation, however, has been complex and constantly evolving. While the government seems interested in the potential benefits of blockchain technology, it has also been wary of the risks and has implemented a number of regulations to address these concerns.

In 2019, the country introduced new regulations requiring cryptocurrency exchanges to register with the Financial Information Unit (FIU) and provide information about their customers and transactions. The regulations also require exchanges to implement anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures and report any suspicious activities to the FIU.

Despite these efforts, there has been criticism that Argentina’s cryptocurrency regulations are still too vague and do not provide enough clarity for businesses and investors.