- A fintech owner allegedly laundered hundreds of millions of euros through crypto exchanges.
- The alleged criminal is tied to a transnational gang accused of drug trafficking, money laundering, and homicide.
- This case could damage the British fintech industry, according to reports.
Caio Marchesani, the owner of a financial technology company in London, allegedly helped drug traffickers launder hundreds of millions of euros through crypto exchange platforms. Marchesani’s fintech company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and called Trans-Fast Remittance, a company that provides cross-border remittance services.
Authorities in Belgium were after Marchesani as part of their effort to dismantle a transnational gang. The authorities accused Marchesani of “knowingly and intentionally” converting a large amount of money to Bitcoin for a Brazilian criminal named Sergio Roberto De Carvalho. De Carvalho was the subject of an Interpol Red Notice for drug trafficking, money laundering, and homicide.
According to reports, this case could damage the British fintech industry and entice fears of a movement of illicit funds around the world. Transparency International UK has called for tougher supervision as more than one-third of UK-licensed digital money companies raised “red flags.”
The Belgians started investigating three years ago after Dutch officials seized more than 12 tons of cocaine, which is worth more than $283 million. The cocaine was traced back to De Carvalho. After authorities decoded the encrypted messages, Marchesani was involved as well.
Marchesani reportedly managed 14 Binance accounts and held cash for De Carvalho, for which he charged him high rates for transferring funds. The alleged criminal was arrested in May 2023 at Heathrow Airport in the UK, and the ruling is intended to be in September. About the investigation, a spokesperson for Binance shared that that exchange provided law enforcement with “practical operational assistance.”
The criminals were alleged to have combined new technology with Hawala, a money transfer system known in the Middle East. After the COVID pandemic, its use of crypto increased as cash deliveries became much harder, according to Belgian prosecutors.
Marchesani’s lawyers denied the allegations and claimed that his money came from legitimate sources. His defense stated that Marchesani had a “thriving business focused on healthy eating in a cafe setting.” Bloomberg speculated that this is a reference to Acai Berry Food, where Marchesani is the chief financial officer and a 50% shareholder.