Spanish media outlets are reporting that the country’s courts have been “inundated” with crypto scam-related cases.
The most notorious of the bunch is an alleged pyramid scheme originating in Tenerife, centering around a firm named Arbistar 2.0. Police claim that the alleged scam has sucked in as many as 32,000 investors.
As previously reported, prosecutors last month pressed aggravated fraud, organized crime continued crime, and commercial document manipulation charges against the reported masterminds. The alleged pyramid is thought to have accumulated up to USD 122m worth of backing.
The National Court (known locally as the Audiencia Nacional), a centralized court that deals with terrorism, financial fraud, and currency forgery cases, is now dealing with cases of “thousands of affected people” who have seen “hundreds of millions of euros evaporate in [suspected] pyramid schemes,” per the news agency EFE (via 20minutos) and Faro de Vigo.
One of these cases centers around the Algorithms Group, a crypto investment company supposedly based in London, which prosecutors think may have left over 3,000 investors out of pocket to the tune of just under USD 343m. A Spanish man named Javier Biosca, his eponymous company, his wife and son are believed to have masterminded the scheme, which promised investors weekly returns of up to 25% on their stakes. Biosca, reported Expansion, appears to have gone missing.
The media outlets added that other high-profile cases also include the likes of the Malta-based Nimbus platform, which may have duped 4,000 investors, many of whom were Spanish, out of some USD 166m. The Nimbus affair appears to have involved an Italian individual named Andrea Zanon, a former risk consultant with the World Bank and an advisor to former United States President Bill Clinton.
Last month, El Pais reported that Zanon had seemingly made “USD 137m disappear,” via his Madrid-based operations.
Zanon, who El Pais claimed had dropped off the radar suddenly last month, deleting social media accounts, had fronted what he claimed was a crypto trading platform that promised monthly returns of up to 15% and boasted that the platform protected clients’ funds from losses using a special computer program.